By building a world, you build your brand

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

Marketing has evolved dramatically over the last decade. New technologies, new devices, and of course, Google has changed the landscape. With all of the new possibilities, it has become wide open with new opportunities and it has become harder, both at the same time. The new marketing arena has been, for the most part, democratized. Small business and entrepreneurs are able to compete with global corporations. Technology has enabled them to connect with new customers and engage current customers in a new way. With all of these possibilities, it’s also become harder. How do you keep your brand and message consistent across transmedia channels? How do you build brand loyalty in a fragmented market? How can you connect with your customers if you don’t know where they hang out the most? These are just a few of the questions that businesses face in this new age of marketing. So what to do?

One of the most critical concepts to understand is it’s important to build a world. This doesn’t mean you do everything under the sun. What this means is you create a world that your customers want to be a part of. Some say build a community, but to me, that’s a bit limiting and not as exciting. If you’re going to build something, why not a cool, exciting world for your brand and brand story to be in? In building this world, you can connect with your customers on an emotional level because we all live in our own worlds that include brands we love. Apple has a world full of creativity and coolness. It’s inhabitants are loyal and contribute to the Apple world. Starbucks has created a world that contains small, daily inspirations and socializing over tasty beverages and treats that is part of the culture. Harley Davidson has created a world where a 45 year old accountant can wear black leather, ride into a small town, and have people be afraid of him. It comes down to creating experiences in your brand world that attracts followers and citizens.

For example, I train in the martial arts. This is a world with its own culture, citizens, and vibe. There are brands that have great currency in this world. Tokaido carries a lot of clout. They make karate gi’s, belts, and accessories. They are considered to be the premium brand and stand for authentic Japanese craftsmanship and history. Addis is good, but its sport based without any deep history. But, if you see someone wearing Tokaido, you know they know what they are doing. I know that the same in many other “worlds” like biking, show dogs, and gourmet cooking.

Building a world in which your brand lives, allows your customers to be a citizen of that world and have influence in it. They can help shape the world they live in, which is what they will do anyway. Your brand must provide the experience and depth of story that customers can not only buy into, but believe in and be a part of creating. All of this goes beyond the debate of whether traditional media is dead and new media is the only way to go. I’ve been a believer of when it includes words like, “always”, “never”, “only”, etc. it’s usually wrong. There are not that many absolutes and marketing is more art than science. I’ve yet to come across a silver bullet in my 26 years in the marketing and advertising business. And the way things are changing today, the so called silver bullet that is hailed today will most likely be a dud in about 18 months because of the “new silver bullet”.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

5 Responses to “By building a world, you build your brand”

  1. Great Site, Very interesting information, keep up the fantastic work and Info.

  2. Willie– Thank you for your comment and support. I hope you will continue to find this blog helpful in your business endeavors. Tony

  3. Sometimes I come across simple and great ideas that someone else has come up with and I tell myself, “This is so true, how did I not think of it first!”

    This blog post is about that kind of idea. Simple, exciting and great. Again, going back to Avatar – the film is so successful because the world James Cameron created is so beautiful, pristine and exciting that everyone wants to be a part of it. In fact, I hear that many people felt depressed for days after they saw Avatar. They became part of Pandora and then had to come back to their dull realities… no wonder many had to see the film more than once!

    I am enslaved by Apple BECAUSE their world is so much more exciting and intriguing than Microsoft’s or Dell’s. My mind knows that for half the cost I could get the same from others, yet in my heart there is no doubt that the premium price I pay to be part of the Apple brand makes me so much better and more interesting human being (even though I might be dull as hell). Steve Jobs and his team are geniuses!

    Keep on writing, Tony!

    • Tim– Thank you for your time in reading my blog. I think you bring up a powerful point, if you can get people to re-evaluate their views and perceptions, such as Avatar did, then your message has real relevance to your customer’s lives. I’m also with you on being an Apple follower. Their products add so much emotional value that it’s hard not to feel different when you engage with them. That’s why I’m also willing to pay a premium. (I wish I was as smart as Steve). The make you feel better about spending more because their brand delivers something that is more valuable than the commodity of a computer or lumpy device. They deliver the emotional value that is important to me.

      I appreciate your insights. Keep them coming. And thank you for the encouragement. –Tony


  1. How Do You Earn a Woman’s Trust? « Bebranded's Blog - January 29, 2010

    […] In  By building a world you build a brand Tony Fannin has a great quote:   “Create a world that your customers want to be a part of. Some say build a community, but to me, that’s a bit limiting and not as exciting.”     The brands that can build a world people want to be a part of are the most successful brands on the planet.  Think Jimmy Buffet’s Parrotheads, or Harley Davidson, or Oprah.  Provide a place where she can make connections with other like-minded people. […]

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