Is That a “1” or an “I”? Does It Matter?

The Importance of All Parts of Our Brand

Collins JerseyI finally succumbed.  I became a Patriots fan after living in Massachusetts and trying not to for more than a decade.

It happened as family members started watching and I joined them.  At first it was just to be on the same page.  Then I became a fan, enjoying the  great athleticism of pro-football.

This fall I got a marketing lesson from an unlikely direction.  There was a new guy on the team.  He’s gone now and I have forgotten his name.  What I do remember is that it has an “I” in it. But the “I” looked funny, more like a “1.” I thought that the Patriot’s jersey-makers ran out of “I’s” and put in a “1” because it was late in the season.

Looking at the other Patriot’s jerseys, I realized that the “I” that looks like a “1” is on purpose! It’s a subtle and magnificent part of their brand all in one character choice.

What is a brand? Expert Josh Starr sums it up well, “It’s the collection of perceptions that reside in the mind of the customer.” And in the mind and heart of everyone else who interacts with your organization in any way… suppliers, neighbors, advisors, prospective customers, and more.

Expanding the concept further in Strategy+BusinessNicholas Ind and Majken Schultz state, “More broadly, many enlightened organizations are moving branding entirely away from communications and toward connecting strategy, culture, and a wider stakeholder involvement.”

KC_OverTheHump_Masthead 230x200When we are involved in the day to day projects of running a business, we sometimes forget how broad the perception of our materials, actions and ideas can be.

Unfortunately the Patriots did not make #1 this year, however I like their attitude.  Though small and subtle, I believe that using a “1” in the lettering on their jersey’s contributed in some tiny way.

I plan to spend a few minutes this week thinking about the broader implications and all the little pieces of the brands I work with by putting myself in the shoes of all those who interact with the brand on any level. Does this broader sense of brand mean much to you?  How do you think about the big picture?

Next week, we’ll discuss why a strong brand is important to the success of your business.

Happy Wednesday!

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