Think of all the successful brands that have become legendary since they first started out. Ford, Apple, McDonald’s.
They’re not just limited to companies. Christianity is a brand. President Barack Obama is a brand. The Civil Rights Movement is a brand.
The one thing they all have in common: they have all made deep personal connections with their audiences because the people who were responsible for providing the vision for the brand understood what makes people tick. It’s relationships.
What does that mean? Once you figure out how to build a personal connection with people, you can take your brand anywhere and get what you want. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Get the bonus content: Online Branding Toolkit
One of my favorite brands is, in fact, a band. I first heard about the group The Foreign Exchange on the under from one of my friends at the time. He told me to check out this hot new song, “Daykeeper,” that just debuted on Okayplayer.com, a site deeply connected with The Roots, one of my all-time favorite hip hop groups. The Foreign Exchange were not yet fully on the radar, but they were starting to get noticed not only for their hot new song but also for how they came together as a group.
The way the story goes, rapper/singer/songwriter Phonte and producer Nicolay started trading songs online. They respected each other’s music so much that they decided to form a band. They believed in what they were doing so much that they created an album over the course of year without ever meeting in person. Over the years, they’ve produced more albums, their live shows are exhilarating, and they’ve created a platform for other musicians to rise—all under the brand of The Foreign Exchange.
I have certainly been a fan since album No. 1, and I will continue to anticipate their next move because it’s much bigger than the music. Somehow, the Internet allowed me to experience something that finally connected with my soul, kept my head nodding and made me a believer in the power of music again and again.
The coolest part of this whole concept is that you don’t have to be a superstar to have influence over people. You just have to believe in yourself and make it personal for someone else because, deep down inside, we all want to be connected to something greater than ourselves.