When you are trying to build a brand, sometimes it’s important to do something BIG. Whether building a personal brand or corporate brand, “go big or go home” is wise counsel. In order to make a big impression, you need to think BIG!
This strategy can work in many different types of branding. St. Louis used this tactic to increase its economy and raise its stature as a destination—in short, to improve its brand. One man had an idea that building a national monument could reinvigorate downtown St. Louis and worked to convince civic and government leaders that the idea had merit. The concept snowballed and eventually resulted in the architect Saarinen’s modern-day architectural wonder known as the St. Louis Arch.
When you go to visit the Arch, you should take the time to see the movie about the making of the Arch. It is truly an amazing feat of architectural engineering, designed down to the inch with no room for error. But it’s also a lesson in branding for the city of St. Louis—by doing something really BIG.
Doing something big can be scary; it takes courage and a sense of the bigger picture. I’ve had clients start out with big ideas that then get watered down or whittled down by budgets to something small. Don’t let this happen to you! Fight for the big thing and do everything you can to make it happen!
In the hit movie Hitch, “the date doctor” gave advice to the main character, Albert, to do something big to get the attention of the woman he desires. “Shock and awe,” he called it. Albert takes it to extreme and quits his job to get noticed. In a moment of fear, cowardice and hilarity, the tactic works. It’s a good example of building a brand in a big way.
Now, I’m not saying you should quit your job or build a monument, but the concept is relevant to many branding situations. My high school-aged son and I were talking about how to get into a prestigious university. Usually there are loads of kids who apply to these schools with 4.0 GPAs and impressive resumes full of awards, achievements and a long list of extracurricular activities. The question is, “How do you stand out?” If everyone is super-smart and talented, how do you make the admissions office take notice? The answer is, “Go Big!” Shock and awe can work in personal branding for college applications just as much as for getting the girl or building an economy.
I’ve seen personally the long-lasting impact a big branding statement can make. When you go big, you aren’t just building a short-term impression. You’re trying to build something that will last in the hearts and minds of your target audience forever! When I was at LEGO, we hosted a 20-city tour of an interactive event that allowed kids and parents to experience the fun of LEGO play. It built the brand long-term, in a very big, very personal way. Right now, I’m working with one of my clients on a BIG program to help people understand who they are and what they are all about—to make a big statement. This program will be something to be remembered for years to come!
So what are you doing to build your brand? Whether you’re a classic packaged goods brand, a college intern or a municipality, find a way to go BIG. Have the courage to make a bold statement, to be noticed, to make a lasting impression! You’ll be glad you did!