Most of my life, I never really understood the true power of a ‘brand.’ An engineer by training, I thought ‘brand’ was just a fancy marketer’s term. I certainly didn’t understand the science behind marketing. I considered ‘branding’ merely ‘advertising’ with a different word.
Boy, was I wrong.
I learned how wrong while bidding a project for Harley-Davidson.
It was a big, multi-year proposal, and our team worked really hard on it. We visited Milwaukee several times and cultivated the relationship. We dove into every single detail and really tried to show the client that we knew our stuff.
Eventually, we shipped out several glossy copies of a formal proposal, probably about 50+ pages each and eagerly awaited feedback.
Finally, I got word from our sales director:
Bart, the client fucking hates the proposal.
I was shocked and stunned. Was the price too high? Was the scope wrong? I thought we had every detail down.
Naturally, I asked our sales director. His response:
We didn’t put a hyphen between Harley and Davidson. It’s Harley DASH Davidson (Harley-Davidson). They protect their brand fiercely, man.
He wasn’t kidding. We reprinted several copies of the proposal (this time with the hyphen) and shipped it back to the client.
I learned a valuable lesson: there’s a reason why Harley-Davidson consistently ranks in the top 10 in global brands. From that moment on, I never made that mistake again. With a client or with my own ventures.
So: if you’re calling on me or mentioning FullContact in the press, I’m going to be a stickler about our brand. I’ll probably even email you a link to this post.
It’s “FullContact” – not “Full Contact” or “FC” or “fullcontact.”
FullContact. One Word. Not Two.
FullContact is our Brand. And we’re going to protect it fiercely.