There’s nothing quite like the thrill of cooking up an award-winning brand from the comfort of an old Winnebago. But be warned: it’s a tricky, volatile process, and straying too far from the established formula could cause everything to blow up in your face. That’s what we call “breaking brand,” and it’s a helluva drug. And who better to teach us about its devastating effects than everyone’s favorite drug-dealing duo:
You went full Heisenberg, man. Never go full Heisenberg.
While meth and murder certainly took their toll on Walt’s personal life, his real problem was that he broke brand. A lot. To the point where – even before the first season was over – he could never again go back to just being that ordinary husband/father/high school teacher that his family loved. Sure, Walt was raking in the big bucks as “Heisenberg,” but that was an unsustainable gig, and there were plenty of other, safer options for dealing with his chemo costs – can anyone say Elliot Schwartz?
The thing is, pulling a “Heisenberg” is nothing more than just a quick fix – if that. And many brands that choose to don the pork pie hat soon find that they’ve become something they never wanted to be. A much smarter, more effective solution is to simply own who you are, no matter how bat shiz crazy that might sound. We’re pretty sure that being known as the “land of drive-thru mistakes” wasn’t a very attractive prospect for Las Vegas, but they owned it. And now that unflattering rep is their defiant battle cry – “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Try taking a chance on yourself by being yourself. The results could surprise you.
Who are you, yo?
If Walt’s problem was being someone he wasn’t, Jesse’s problem was being no one at all. Don’t get us wrong, we love the king of Chili P as much as the next guy, it’s just that his fickle ways aren’t something we want to emulate. And neither should you. Jesse’s constant good guy/bad guy “rollercoastery” made him inconsistent, and his lack of direction made him unreliable –2 things you probably don’t want your brand to be known for.
One of the quickest ways to break brand is by not really having one in the first place. So as “un-gangsta” as it may sound, dependability is the keystone of identity. It solidifies who you are, and keeps your fans and followers tuned into what you’re doing. Just look at companies like Apple, Coca Cola and Disney – everything they do or say is instantly recognizable across the board, simply because they’re so consistent when it comes to their branding. So take a leaf out of their books and stay true to your school, whether it’s on social media, in a magazine or wherever. And before you know it, people will start recognizing the things you do, simply because it’s you who’s doing them.
In the end, none of us really intend on breaking brand, but anything can happen when times get tough. So if you ever find your marketing in the desert, wearing nothing but its chones, stop. Stay calm. And start making brand.