Proven advertising ideas to get more people to buy from you, visit you or know about you. Not to mention plenty of tips on creating successful copy, layout and images. All filtered through the thick haze of classic rock lore.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Bob Dylan Rule of Branding

Here's a quick but important lesson Bob Dylan can teach you about branding (and no, it's not his lyric: "When you ain't got nothin'/You got nothin' to lose).

It's around December 1962. Bob Dylan already had one folk album out on Columbia Records and began recording his second one. On this second album, he recorded a couple of rock songs with a band accompanying his guitar and harmonica (one song was an original and the other was an Elvis cover). His manager said no way. You already started defining yourself as a folk singer with your audience, not a rocker. And we have to continue building your folk brand, not alienate an audience that's just starting to know you. So Dylan went on to achieve the pinnacle of his branding by being synonymous with folk and protest songs.

And more than two years later, Dylan was able to reinvent his brand and switch over to rock. He was already a household name, and switching to a new brand would not ruin him (though changing an audience's perception of a brand is always extremely challenging, which will be discussed later). This is an important lesson if you're thinking of re-branding your company, products or services. If you're not brand new but for some reason you want to say you're doing something new and different, it's best to first make sure your target audience really knows who you are. What you are. What you stand for.

Because if you try to redefine yourself before you solidify your brand, your audience will never really know who you are. And that could be the ruin of any branding campaign.

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