This post is the third in a series of four, outlining my definition of TRUE Branding. TRUE is an acronym for True, Relevant, Unique and Engaging, and applies to my rules for successful branding.

The Series posts are titled:

1. TRUE Brands – Part 1, True Brands Just Start the Journey.
2. TRUE Brands – Part 2, It’s Not You, Really.
3. TRUE Brands – Part 3, How Do You Scare a Brand with a Cold? Unique Up On It!
4. TRUE Brands – Part 4, Conversation is So… Engaging.

My kids and I were in the fish section of my local Wal-Mart the other day, staring at the blue, buzzing spread of little fishy cubicles. We stood there for what seemed like an eternity when my older son broke the silence with, “Which one would you pick, Dad?”

“THAT ONE!” My 5-year old blurted out as he pointed to a tank filled to the rim with thousands of shimmering, orange-ish disks. It looked like a huge tank of wet toffee candies. I know this because my kids, although they HATE toffee, insist on trying two or three disks every time I buy a bag… ultimately spitting the mass of shimmering orange-ish goo into the palm of my hand.

…I digress…

But there was one fish, not quite orange, not quite gold, swimming in slow circles at the bottom left corner of the tank – precisely where he was pointing.

“Why THAT one?” I asked him, “He’s kind-a funny-looking…”

“No way, he’s cool.” He beamed, “He doesn’t look like the rest of ‘em.” He poked at the tank glass and that one, unique fish darted to the left and disappeared in a blur of orange goo.

I looked again and smiled. I knew why he picked it, but I wanted to prove a point.

In one simple gesture, my son just gave me this blog post. He snuck it into a mindless day at Wal-Mart, while zoning out at a wall of Technicolor tanks full of hundreds of thousands of (what seemed like) the same fish.

Now, to give him credit, he didn’t pick the only Beta out of a tank full of Goldfish. He picked the most UNIQUE Goldfish in that mass of orange goo. This particular Goldfish wasn’t just a Goldfish. Sure, he understood that intrinsically, Goldfish are Goldfish, but this one wasn’t like the others. He was UNIQUE. And that made him more attractive – at least to a 5-year old boy.

Being truthful about your brand started this journey. And of course, the last post was about using those brand truths to become relevant to your market. So, now, unless you’ve developed a widget or service so innovative that you’ve defined a new niche market, your next charge is to prove how your brand stands out in “the fish tank.” Among the other hundreds of thousands of companies out there, what makes your brand UNIQUE?

What brands can you think of that have taken a common, even humdrum product or service and created themselves a TRUE unique brand. How did they make their brand truly unique?

Join the conversation. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Conversation is so… Engaging.

Keep Cooking!

  1. Among the winners and losers of brands, the unique factor is a very evident piece of successes and failures.

    Here’s a quote that might motivate companies to break the molds and become relevantly unique. – “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas…I’m frightened of the old ones.” – John Cage

  2. Great quote, Chris.

    Is standing out such a terrible option when compared to the tedious monotony of the past? Being unique is a challenge, but unless your voice stands out, clear and true, no one will hear you – or care to listen for that matter…

    Thanks for engaging.

    Keep Cooking!