Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm Special

Grade 1 teachers are already preparing our kids for understanding brand. They call it "Special Me."

Eric, a little friend of mine who is in grade 1, is "Special Me" on September 29th. He's already collecting stuff. He's trying to figure out the special part because there's lots of stuff that he has that other kids have already show cased: a little brother, a mom, a dad, a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, lego, a signed picture of Rob Ducey and a snail he found on the side walk after the big rain.

Matt brought his baby brother -- he was squirmy and cried a lot. Eric's brother can walk AND talk, so he's a little cooler. Eric's mom and dad are pretty different than Josh's, at least Eric thinks his dad is pretty cool in his baseball uniform. He's not sure about the Jersey. The Leafs haven't negogiated the Stanley cup for a long time -- at least, that's what his dad says. Natalie brought lego -- but it girl's lego and Eric figures the alien force captivator he constructed last week is way cooler. He's not sure who Rob Ducey is. He's old now, but his grandpa told him he was pretty good. Jesse brought a snail, but accidently stepped on it so the shell was broken. Ethan brought his Fischer Price smart cycle -- Eric just has the Wii.

I'm not sure what Eric will bring when the fateful day arrives -- but he's already figured part of it out. Even though he has some things that are the same as other kids, each part of his collection is unique because it reflects the core of who he is.

Brand is built on the uniqueness of the organization and works to differentiate organizations in a crowded marketplace.

Many organizations look similar from the outside. Coke and Pepsi are a brown, carbonated sugared (or non-sugared) liquid. Not at all sexy. In 1906 Pepsi used Original Pure Food Drink against Coke's The great national temperance beverage. In 1928 Pepsi pushed the competition with Peps You Up! against Coke's Coca-Cola ... pure drink of natural flavors.In 1939, fighting for the tight depression dollar, Pepsi claimed Twice as Much for a Nickel while Coke emphasized its friendship with the consumer with Coca-Cola goes along.

The battle continues with Pepsi insisting on being the "cola" of choice luring pepsi fans with "stuff" and Coke unifying Coke drinkers with iCoke reward points.

Same product (forgive me Pepsi and Coke drinkers -- I truly understand the discerning taste buds). Same target audience. Same brand?

Not in the least.

Eric is 6 years old. He has a little brother, a mom and dad, a house and a wii. Pretty ordinary little guy. But his brother's name is Colin and his mom works in an advertising agency and his dad plays second base and sells houses. His house is on the corner and he has the high score Super Mario Galaxy.

There are 16 little boys in Eric's class -- and none of them are just like him.

Oh yeah -- he didn't step on the snail, so the shell's intact.