The American Rifleman’s Association has a well known rebuttal for those who oppose the tightening of gun control. It goes like this, ‘ Guns aren’t dangerous; people are!‘ Sadly, they’re right! I suppose we could argue the pros and cons for hours but it all amounts to the same thing. Some poor individual ends up dead or wounded. This of course is true of most anything.

Created to slice up food, a knife, given the intent, stupidity, insanity, lack of discipline or just plain carelessness, can be utilised to chop up your enemies or on some occasions your relatives. Anything can be dangerous, anything can be misused to cause you and others maximum harm.

Brands are a good example, and although the comparison reeks of symbolism and while the results might be less fatal and dramatic, they are nonetheless just as deadly in a suicidal sense. Call it, intent, stupidity, insanity, lack of discipline or just plain carelessness but creating a brand for some businesses is like giving a psychopath a gun.

Just like an M16, load it and it’s ready to go. Question is where do you point it? Who do you point it at? And how’s it going to look when it powers its way out of the barrel and hits its target? Does it matter, and there are more questions. Who do we let play with our loaded weapon?

Anyone I guess, everyone knows what a brand does? Like guns, the mismanagement of brands have victims too and here’s where the illustration takes a mean turn, because brand misuse only serves to kill the shooter!

If you don’t respect your brand; if you let people who think they know about brand management and don’t, handle and project your precious image; if you carelessly disregard the brand management rules; if you lack the discipline to carefully examine everything that bears your name, then expect to die a slow death in the marketplace, as a confused consumer base deserts you.

I’m certain most people don’t understand guns, I’ll put my hand up first – hate them, fear them, wouldn’t claim to understand why I’d need them, so if you asked me to handle one for you, I’d run a mile. After working with brands for nearly 45 years, I know something about them, how to respect them, what damage they can do and what brilliant results a brand can bring in the hands of those whose knowledge can exploit its worth.

If you don’t fully understand it, then you can’t respect it and if you play around with it, it’ll explode in your face. If you lend it to others you’re careless and dare I be rude and say, stupid. If you don’t bother checking, you’re careless, if you don’t apply the disciplines, you’re irresponsible and if you’re guilty of all these things, build yourself a fort, purchase a bullet proof vest and order a coffin, because sooner or later you and your brand are heading for the big marketplace in the sky.

Oh and by the way. Beware! Newspapers; Signwriters; TV Execs; Magazine Sales people, none of them are paid to understand branding, so don’t believe they do! They exist to sell space, airtime and signage. Most understand as much about brands as they do an M16 rifle and I wouldn’t trust an SAS soldier with an M16.

Treat your brand as if it were a weapon – because it is!

Bang! Bang!