As we walked through the doors of the older, yet-to-be remodeled Wendy’s restaurant, my then 4-year-old twin boys came to a sudden stop.
For several seconds, they both looked around, confused and taking in their surroundings. With a hint of annoyance in his voice, one of them looked up at me and asked, “Where’s the cow?” while the other proceeded to add, “and where’s the grass?”
The Infinite Wisdom of 4 Year Olds
You see, for the last several weeks I had gotten in the habit of taking my kids to either Chic-fil-A or Wendy’s once per week in the evening. At the Chic-fil-A in the evenings, kids are typically greeted by their cow mascot. I don’t know what it is about that cow, possibly that it reminds kids of the song Old MacDonald, but kids love the cow.
And the Wendy’s that we normally visit is a newly remodeled one. It doesn’t have a cow, but it has fancy panels on the inside with drawings of grass, a gas fireplace, friendly workers that greet you and soda machines that look space-age contraptions.
So even to a 4-year old who knows absolutely nothing about branding, branding was everything. My children immediately recognized the difference between this remodeled Wendy’s location vs. the brand new Wendy’s location vs. the Chic-fil-A.
And the questions did not stop there. After I explained to them that the cow was at Chic-fil-A, the conversation went like this:
Kid: Who is he? [They asked spotting a picture of Dave on the wall.]
Me: That’s Wendy’s dad.
Kid: Well, where is he? [They looked around, as if expecting him or the cow to come around the corner to greet them.]
Me: I don’t know. [This was a better answer than having to explain the real whereabouts of Dave…may he rest in peace.]
Kid: He’s probably at Chic-fil-A. [He said this very matter-of-factly while his brother immediately agreed with him.]
Your Personal Brand…Be The Cow
Now, I know that 4-year-old kids ask a lot of interesting (read crazy) questions all of the time. They are curious. Their brains are expanding rapidly, and they’re soaking in knowledge and tidbits of information that you probably never even realized they were absorbing. But these questions and comments my kids posed need to be taught in a marketing class or put into a marketing book as far as I’m concerned.
For me, the question “Where is the cow?”, is really an observation about branding. As a marketer, their observations tell me three things:
- In a world of plenty of competition, branding matters.
- If you want to stand out, you need to make an effort towards having your own flare.
- Sometimes, it’s not a bad thing to be a cow.
One thing I plan to do more of this year is to work on my personal brand. I have a lot of personal talents and an ability and desire to share my talents with others who are seeking to make a better life for themselves. How I brand myself matters. How I carve out a niche for myself and make myself stand out against the crowd matters.
There’s a Caddyshack quote that I’ve always liked, “Just be the ball, be the ball, be the ball. You’re not being the ball Danny!”
Well, today I’m telling myself, “Just be the cow, be the cow, be the cow Kari!”
Ask yourself: Does your personal brand stand out? Does your messaging make an impression, or is it blending in with the crowd?
For tips and resources on creative branding ideas, follow my CREATIVE BRANDING IDEAS board on Pinterest!