Build Your Brand Like You’re Buying Kid’s Shoes.

During a rebrand, there is a constant struggle with how the brand should connect. Should we lean far into the aspiration, developing a promise that defines what we want to be and where we want to go? Or, should we be more conservative and build a brand that clearly lines up to where we are, what we can deliver and fulfill? It’s a delicate, nuanced balancing act.

Before you decide how far to go, look at your kid’s shoes.

Every parent knows the pain of investing in their kid’s shows. They’re gonna get beat up, torn, soaked and chewed up… But most of all, your kid is absolutely going outgrow them eventually. But… and this is important. You can’t buy a shoe that’s so big that they trip on it like clown shoes. On the other hand, if it fits just right today, she’s going to grow out of them overnight.

So, you buy a shoe snug enough to be comfortable today, but with enough room for YOU to feel good about the investment. If you get a year or two out of those name brand sneakers, you’ve made a very wise decision. Good you!

Treat your brand the same way. It’s going to have to fit today but offer enough room to grow into comfortably so YOU get to see the return on the investment.

So, here are the business considerations:

  1. Have you done the leadership alignment to make sure all stakeholders understand where you are, where you are going and what it will look like when you get there?
  2. Are there any surprise expectations? Do you know the keepers of the status quo? The visionaries?
  3. Have you prepared for the organizational changes that will drive the new brand? Actions will drive the brand more than words. Keep this, stop that, start this….
  4. Do you have the roadmap in place that overlays leadership, operational adoption and brand activation all in place?
  5. Does the leadership have an incredibly strong business case of why we need to do this as well as a precise description of what success is going to look like and feel like?

All in all…. Are you crispy on the shoe style, the shoe size and how long you expect the shoe to last? It’s a brand, not a shoe… but you get the point.


Eric Berrios is responsible for client strategy and client relationship at Realm in Atlanta, GA. Since 2005, he has been driving business-to-business clients towards setting and achieving their goals and gaining a stronger sense of brand purpose.

You can learn more about Realm on TwitterFacebook.

He has also served on the board of directors for IABC/Atlanta since 2010 as VP Professional Recognition and 2 years as chapter president. This non-profit organization seeks to build business through communication.

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