What I’ve Ben thinking about today:

Branding – it’s the simple things.
Get your free Weiner.
Allen Iverson, you will be remembered for…

1. Branding – it’s the simple things. One of the reasons I love my job is the people I am lucky enough to interact with on a daily basis. I was reminded of that yesterday with a thoughtful conversation around what it really means to manage your brand.

Sometimes we read about a company looking to control their brand. I hear that and I get this visual of Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, when he’s talking about his sale as a ‘little pet’, cradling a dinner roll…and then strangling it, ripping it to shreds.

The same can be said for how a brand should be managed. The more you try to control it the less flexibility you have. And in today’s environment the last thing you want to eliminate is flexibility.

Branding is such an incredible tool if done the right way – especially because of what it means to your audiences. If people love and want to experience your brand you don’t want to reward them by controlling it and telling them how they should be interacting with it. Legacy brands will tell you that branding is like a fine wine – you have to let it breathe a little bit. What if Apple put tight limitations on how all of us Apple fanatics interacted with their brand? Same for sports teams? Could you imagine if someone from the Browns went to all the backers groups, every tailgating party to look to see if the Cleveland Browns brand was being controlled?

Companies today have an opportunity to let their audiences build and strengthen their brands more than ever before. And at the end of the day that’s coming from three core elements: sincerity, accountability and interaction.

We as a society and as consumers have evolved. We should expect the same from our brands.

2. You are your channel. As we’ve seen more brands look to create their own channel to distribute objective content (ex.: Coke Journey; American Express OPEN) it was only a matter of time before we saw agency’s start to do the same thing.

The early weiner, I mean winner is Good Days, a marketing firm specializing in programs for brands using food trucks. They created their own viral campaign with the Anthony Weiner hot dog truck. Yep, a truck that has a likeness of Anthony Weiner as well as several references to his ‘sextingploitations’. The truck, which passes out free hot dogs, has received plenty of local buzz – people wanting their picture with it – as well as national, being featured on CNN.

This is a great example of how a company decided to forgo traditional selling efforts and actually demonstrate how they do. If you were in the market for an agency that could promote the hell out your foodtruck brands, is there any question Good Days wouldn’t be at the top of your list?

3. Media meltdowns. I heard Allen Iverson officially retired today. I thought he already was but apparently not playing since 2010 just means you are a free agent. So, now he’s retired. And we can remember him for…PRACTICE?!? Y’ALL ARE TALKING ABOUT PRACTICE?!?.

Yep, one of the best scoring guards in NBA history, an MVP, a scoring champ, will be remembered for saying ‘practice’ 91 times in 100 seconds. So, in his honor, I think it’s only fair that we rank the best sports media meltdowns:

  1. I’m a man! I’m 40! (Mike Gundy, head coach Oklahoma St.)
  2. They are, who we thought they were! (Dennis Green, head coach, Arizona Cardinals)
  3. Jim Rome v. Jim (Chris) Everett 
  4. Playoffs??! Playoffs? (Jim Mora, head coach, Indianapolis Colts)
  5. Man…we’re talking about practice (Allen Iverson, point guard, Philadelphia 76ers)