'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet'? is Juliet’s argument that it doesn’t matter that Romeo is from the family’s rival house of Montague. What really matters is what something is, not what it is called.
This statement, written over 500 years ago by a little-known playwright called Shakespeare, is still relevant today when we think about branding.
Think about some of the world best known brands, Coca Cola, Nike, Hungry Jacks, McDonalds, Apple, Google.
These words are simply words, or in some cases not even, until you have an interaction or experience with the brand.
What is it that makes children beg for McDonalds, even though they don’t eat the food? What is it that is elusive and mysterious about Coca Cola to a child even though they have never tried it. Simple. It’s called marketing.
Its that value that is invested in the brand that makes a brand
Steve Jobs understood the value of talking about company values, of elevating the messaging to tier one so people connected with the brand, not just the product.
The name doesn’t matter. After all, where does the Apple brand come from? From Jobs bio “I was “on one of my fruitarian diets” and had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name sounded “fun, spirited and not intimidating.” And according to Steve Wozniak, they wanted their start-up to be in front of Atari in the phone book. Sometimes its as simple as that.
Here in his 1997 keynote, he addresses the very core of marketing and the what a brand stands for.
“Even a great brand needs investment and caring if its going to maintain its relevance and vitality. Clearly Apple has suffered in this area in the last few years and we need to bring it back. The way to do that is not to talk about speeds and feeds, its not to talk about bits and megahertz.
“What we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well.
Apple is about something more than that! Apple at the core, its core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world. And we have the opportunity to work with people like that in both big and small ways.
And so what we’re going to do, in our first brand marketing campaign in several years, is to get back to that core value. A lot of things have changed, the market is a totally different place to what it was a decade ago, the product is different, the sales and distribution strategy is different we understand that, but values and core values, those shouldn’t change.
The things that Apple believe in at its core, are the same things that Apple stands for today.”
Your brand is important, its how you choose to represent yourself in the marketplace. But as for what that brand is, its less about the name itself and more about the values and story behind it.