Over the holidays, I spent a lot of time thinking about the upcoming year and how I can be a better branding agent for my clients.

Through the numerous family gatherings, through the wine, the breads of all shapes and sizes, the Graziano’s sausage links (I’m Italian, of course), the din of doorbells ringing and kids’ toys buzzing and beeping, there was always a constant in my house. Music. There was a subtle tune playing through my iPod dock for all to enjoy.

As you can see from my profile, music is one thing that I have a passion for. Eclectic, entertaining, romantic, driving, danceable, thundering or soothing, music is ever-present as a soundtrack to my life. But on Friday, after my third helping of sausage, second glass of wine and fifth political debate with my brother, I realized a particular song buzzing from the speakers on the kitchen counter. It was Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” off of his 1965 release “Highway 61 Revisited.”

I stopped, which of course, threw my brother off a bit…

Desolation Row,” in all of its glorified surrealism, immediately took me back. It took me back to another Christmas, 20 years past, where a friend had given me this “Compact Disc” as a present. At the time, as a huge REM and The Smiths fan, I thought, “A Dylan CD?!? What the heck are you thinking?” But leveler heads prevailed and I decided to keep it in my collection.

Some number of years later, when I purchased my first iPod and started loading my CDs onto it, I ran across “Highway 61 Revisited.” Though it had only been opened two or three times since I originally received it in 1987, I listened to every track as it streamed into iTunes, then I listened again as I synced the music to my new toy.


As an adult, my music tastes have changed a bit. Sure, I still pull out “Life’s Rich Pageant” and “Louder than Bombs” for a fun reminiscent minute. They’re constantly shuffling on my iPod. But since 2005, I have added 12 Bob Dyan albums to my collection. Why? I love Dylan’s brand. It’s a TRUE (truthful, relevant, unique and engaging) brand and it has converted me into a fan.

Bob Dylan is one of the most consistent and prolific musicians of all time. His genuine focus and innovative approach to his trade defines, not only himself, but also his generation and the music industry for the last (almost) five decades. Who cares if he can’t sing!

So, how does this pertain to my blog, or my wish to be a better branding agent? Brand Consistency and helping my clients (and myself) be Brand TRUE is the solution.

Although my conversation with my brother continued long after the 11 minutes of “Destination Row,” my perception of Dylan’s brand was defined clearly for me for the first time… I still can’t remember what my brother was saying.

Do you have times where you’ve had an “A-ha” moment and everything clicks into place? Do you have other examples, like Bob Dylan, who through CONSISTENT and TRUE branding – whether conscious of it or not – affects their market so profoundly? I’d love to hear your stories.

Oh, and if you’re ever on the South side of Des Moines, Iowa, Graziano Brother’s Grocery is the only place you can find the BEST in Italian foods outside “Little Italy” in Boston (and that country across the pond…) Below is their address.

Keep Cooking!

Graziano’s Grocery

1601 South Union Street, Des Moines, IA 50315

Photo Credit:
“Highway 61 Revisited” Copyright © SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

  1. Great post buddy!BR/BR/Or… should I say ANOTHER great post!BR/BR/I had a similar experience with Neil Young. Your story brought back memories AND it made me think.BR/BR/Thanks! Keep up the great work!BR/BR/MitchBR/mitch@doyouQ.comBR/blog.doyouQ.com

  2. I was going back and forth with Neil Young and Dylan as well as Tom Petty. But when it comes to maintaining brand consistency, staying true to your brand (while still innovating), being relavant to his audience, being unique and engaging… Bob wins, hands down.BR/BR/Thanks for stopping by Mitch. Hopefully we can get to a Q event soon. BR/BR/Keep Cooking!BR/Andrew