People periodically go through the exercise of revising their brand's essence, promise, personality, unique value proposition and other brand positioning elements.
A fun approach to this is to pretend that your brand has died. Now you need to write its obituary, its epitaph, and its eulogy. It's obituary is akin to its elevator speech, while its epitaph is akin to its tagline or slogan. While its eulogy is a more thoughtful, in-depth review of the brand. If you want to go even more in-depth, think about writing a documentary about the life and times of your brand. What was your brand best known for? What was its legacy? At its peak, how did people perceive it? What would you want the brand to be known for? Generally, obituaries, epitaphs and eulogies are all positive.
This could be an exercise for the senior leadership team, the marketing team or all employees.
To get you started (and just for fun), here are some real epitaphs taken from real gravestones:
- Joe DiMaggio: “Grace, dignity and elegance personified”
- Gracie Allen and George Burns: “Together again”
- Robert Frost: “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”
- Rodney Dangerfield: “There goes the neighborhood.”
- Mel Blanc: "That's all folks"
- Joannes Keppler: “I used to measure the skies, now I measure the shadows of Earth. Although my mind was sky-bound, the shadow of my body lies here.”
- Victor William Braddick (an English farmer): “We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land”
- George Washington Carver: “He found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world”
- Robert Clay Allison (a gunslinger): "He never killed a man that did not need killing"
- Helen Herczberg Gawara: "She bore witness to the holocaust. She is now set free."
- Russell Larsen: "Two things I love most, good horses and beautiful women. And when I die I hope they tan this old hide of mine and make it into a lady's riding saddle, so I can rest in peace between the two things I love most."
- Bill Kugle (a member of the Texas House of Representatives): "He never voted for Republicans and had little to do with them"
- Herman Harband: "My wife Eleanore Arthur of Queens, N.Y. lived like a princess for 20 years traveling the world with the best of everything. When I went blind, she tried to poison me, took all my money, all my medication and left me in the dark, alone and sick. It's a miracle I escaped. I won't see her in heaven because she's surely going to hell!"
This exercise can help people rediscover the brand's purpose, realign with its mission and vision and re-craft its unique value proposition.
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