By Beverly Cambron, Owner, Rocco Media
Several years ago, I was lucky enough to see Prince perform at one of his secret concerts in what was a small dining space at a hotel in Las Vegas. They had cleared out the tables and replaced them with just a few rows of chairs. When we lucky ones were ushered in some time after midnight, I was pointed to a chair directly in front of a microphone – just a few feet away. Next to it was an electric piano and a couple of guitar stands. I don’t know that I really believed he would show up or, if he did, it would be several hours later and I would be fast asleep in my bed. But once the few dozen of us had settled in, Prince strutted out – in a perfectly tailored purple suit, no less – and took control of that microphone. Even in this tiny venue with an awe-struck captive crowd, when he could have played anything his heart desired and we all would have loved it, he performed a masterful mix of his hits – everything a veteran or rookie Prince fan would love to hear. He jammed for hours and it still feels like a purple dream.
When news of his death hit, the public outpouring of emotions was strikingly visual. Buildings, bridges, and ball stadiums were cast in purple. Even news channel graphics and news anchor clothing turned purple. His “love symbol” was projected across stadiums and arenas as bands performed their own riffs of legendary Prince songs. While the tabloids may pick over the cause of his death, Prince should be remembered for his life. From music to marketing, he was an undeniable genius. And although many of us may not have an innate gift for music, we can all channel our inner Prince when it comes to branding.
The Prince brand wasn’t just about purple. It wasn’t just about the “love symbol.” It wasn’t just about the music or his quirky, creative personality. It was about consistently presenting a combination of all those aspects. Your brand is not just your logo, it’s how you cohesively present yourself, your company, to the world. From the color tone in your logo to the written tone of your social media posts, successful branding requires consistency. That doesn’t mean never changing, as we should all strive to be constantly improving, but it does mean getting clear with yourself and everyone in your organization, especially those responsible for regularly carrying forward your brand message, on how you present yourself to the world.
When Prince became embroiled in a dispute with his record label, he created a new identity manifested by a custom logo commonly known as the “love symbol.” That logo was created in 1993 and he carried it forward until the day he died. While logos can certainly evolve and change – and in many cases should – Prince’s love symbol shows the value of using professional talent when creating one. Even creative geniuses bring in other pros on occasion, as Prince did for developing his iconic symbol. Once your logo is established, clear out any old logos (except for the historical files) and use it consistently.
A Signature Color 4 U?
Which companies pop to mind when I say red and yellow? Blue and yellow? Red and white? McDonald’s, Ikea, and Coke have strong brand identities when it comes to color. Netflix is another example of powerful branding with color – from those red envelopes of yesteryear to that vivid red screen that fires up when it’s time to bingewatch – Netflix red says entertainment is just ahead. As evidenced by a world cast in purple the day Prince died, he certainly belongs in the annals of powerful color branding. From your logo to your website to staff uniforms, having a strong color association can help expand your brand identity. My friend Scott claims orange as his signature color not for any business reason, he just loves the color. When I see something orange I immediately think of Scott and, more importantly, I think of him in a positive way.
How you “speak” to your customers – and potential customers – matters. The tone of your social media posts, blogs, and printed material, expresses the personality of your business. Is it playful? Is it serious? Prince’s “voice” was unique 2 him. He used numbers and misspelled words to convey a sense of futuristic fun. It couldn’t work for everyone but it was perfect 4 Prince. Get a handle on your voice and use it consistently.
Take a comprehensive look at how you’re presenting yourself to the world – website, marketing collateral, social media, staff uniforms, phone greetings. Together, what does your brand look like? Is it cohesive or disjointed? Does each aspect carry forward your brand’s message? Take the time to channel your inner Prince and make your brand one to remember.
Rocco Media’s CSO (Chief Spirit Officer) Jane channels her inner Prince, above. Purple Jane.