Assassins. Espionage artists. Spies. Mercenaries. Survivalists. Turtles? Whatever you call them, the Ninjas’ brand is simply cool as hell! They have an aura of overwhelming power, intelligence, stealth and magic that no other warring agent can touch. Sure, the “Ninja” brand has been copied, stolen and spoofed, but it just can not be duplicated. Now THAT’S a strong brand…
So, when it comes to really stepping up and differentiating your product or service from your competition, why not pull some hints from the code of the Ninja into your branding?
Follow The Code Of The Branding Ninja:
A Branding Ninja must…
1. Never betray the clan.
Truth and honor are the core of the ninja brand. If your ninja brand can’t be trustworthy and loyal, then you have no foundation for the relationship (in business or life).
2. Accomplish the mission; failure is not an option.
Ninja branding is all about making the mission successful at virtually any cost. So what do you do when the challenges become overwhelming? Go into ninja-mode and kick some brand arse!
3. Put the clan and the mission before himself.
When working in a team environment, focus on the brand mission over your personal needs. Rogue ninjas are simply a detriment to themselves and the overall brand mission. It’s called teamwork, ninjas!
4. Escape if captured (no excuses).
Stealth. Speed. Nimble action. They’re all actions of the brand ninja. If you get stuck in you mission or captured by adversity, reject, re-focus, re-purpose and re-launch! A ninja held prisoner is soon a dead ninja!
5. Kill only when necessary for survival.
If threatened by conflict, competition or failure the ninja will always strive to redirect the end to his favor through any means necessary. And only as a last resort, he go for the death blow.
6. Avoid striking a member of the same ry (school).
This discipline should go without saying, but it goes back to working within a team. A team of brand ninjas all tirelessly work toward the same mission. To have infighting and dissension amongst its ranks would doom the brand mission.
7. Strive for peace, harmony and enlightenment in all things.
Once you have a TRUE brand mission on hand, the direction to take should be one of serene discovery. If your brand mission is on path, resistance will be futile.
8. Aid a genin (fellow ninja) from the same ry.
If one ninja should stumble or fall, the genin to his sides will pick him up and correct the course. Mentoring and unfaltering support within the branding ninja ranks is imperative for mission success.
9. Never use the terms “ninja”, “shinobi”, or “assassin” when speaking in public.
The branding ninja shouldn’t need to overtly reveal his brand mission objective or tactics. The mission will speak for itself and the actions of the individual will be irrelevant to its success.
10. Always observe others and know your surroundings.
This is the external version of #9. If you observe with sharp diligence and objectivity, the scope of your branding territory (target market, niche mission, competitors’ flaws, etc.) will be revealed.
10.5 Understand you are always being observed. Always.
Just as you are watching others, they are watching you. Always protect your brand, your mission and be prepared to react with lightening speed and power!
The above list was taken from the Ninja Code of Honor during Japan’s Sengoku period, when, according to reports, the ninja discipline was born and developed between the 15th and 17th centuries.
Of course, I edited and kept the disciplines that spoke directly to branding and teamwork, but can you see the correlation?
SO… Which of the above codes can you work on to keep your brand TRUE? Is your brand ninja-like or do you need to go back and do a little TRUE ninja branding boot camp?
Keep Cooking! (with stealth, power and mystery in your brand)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef
What’s that behind you!