Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Letter from the Editor: Brands Don't Rise from Nothing

Dear Friends,

At the 1856 inauguration of the statue of Benjamin Franklin, House Speaker Robert Winthrop spoke, saying,

"Lift up your heads and look at the image of a man who rose from nothing, who owed nothing to parentage or patronage, who enjoyed no advantages of an early education which are not open to yourselves, who performed the most menial services in the businesses in which his early life was employed, but who lived to stand before kings and died to leave a name, which the world will never forget."

Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Outliers:

"People don't rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact, they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages, extraordinary opportunities, and cultural legacies that allow them to learn, work hard, and make sense of the world in ways that others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine."

We believe Mr. Gladwell got it right. No one does it alone. And we believe that building a successful brand works in the same way. Parentage, environment, and culture play a vital part of a brand's opportunity to stand before kings. They are not created in a vacuum. They need hidden advantages to shape the pattern of a brand's achievement.

We embrace this truth and are constantly developing hidden brand advantages for our clients. What we're finding is that with the ever-changing economic, societal, and technologic landscape, great opportunities for effective branding strategies are still available and waiting for implementation.

Here's to an emerging and successful spring for all of us!


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