I am ___

If you look to the right on my profile, you will see how I describe myself:

  • Father.
  • Brother.
  • Son.
  • Husband.
  • Friend.
  • Viking.
  • Oxonian.
  • American.
  • Idahoan.
  • Outdoorsman.
  • Farm Boy.
  • Reader.
  • Boyish.
  • Generational Link.
  • Marketer.
  • Interested.
  • Concerned.
  • Restless.

I have a lot of evidence to back up these claims. I can tell people about them time and again so they will view me as one of the above terms. Of course, none of that really matters.

In my building, one of the families we are friends with came over a month or so ago and I played trains with their young son.  He refers to me now with one term:

  • Choo-Choo (like the sound a train makes)

This has since evolved to “Russell choo-choo”, but the point is, to him, I am not what I say I am, I am as defined by what I do that matters most.

With our audiences, this perception is not only held by a single person, but as a simple way to explain what a product or service or brand is from one person to another. Zappos is most definitely “shoes”, and to one they are cheap and another they are fun. Bloomingdales is another place that holds a significant place in the “shoes” category. If Zappos tried to additionally capture Bloomingdales’ chic and classy image while they try to hold on to their strong position in the fun and inexpensive category, their actions would betray them to their existing community, resulting in the loss of their current market position.

To use and muddle a well known concept—realizing that brands are as therefore we think, brand managers ought to be careful to not create dissonance between the hoped for brand image and the perceived marketing and other business activities.

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