What Is A Brand and How Can I Get One?



It may not have been the exact moment that I decided every definition of “brand” I had ever heard was inadequate, but it was close. I had been sitting in a meeting with a potential client and I talked a lot — I tend to do that — about brands and branding. I get excited about the work, so I’m talking about all of the great potential. I was painting a rosy picture of this client’s future and he turned and said, “OK. You’ve convinced me. I need a brand. So how do I get one?” I didn’t have a short answer. 


David Ogilvy, the suave, pipe-smoking “father of advertising” once said, “A brand is the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” It’s a good sentiment and entirely accurate but doesn’t cut the mustard. The truth is, there is both an intangible brand and a tangible brand. The intangible brand is a set of emotional attachments and expectations. The tangible brand is your name, your logo, your core messaging, and all of the physical places where those things are applied. 


The first is really what I call the “Brand Promise” and you can’t put your hands around it. What is the promise you are making to customers and do you keep your promises? If you cannot easily identify your brand promise, you probably do not have a brand. The more tangible definition of brand is really brand identity; which is all of the pieces and parts that leave a mark on the minds of a customer. If you don’t have a logo or a memorable core message or brand pieces (business cards, website, signage, etc.) you probably don’t have a brand. If you take away nothing else from this week’s message, remember this: A brand promise and a brand identity go together like Love and Marriage, as the old Frank Sinatra song says, “Love and marriage, they go together like a horse and carriage, this I tell you, brother, you can’t have one without the other.” 


Take a good, hard look at your company. Do your customers love you? And more importantly, are they married to your brand? If the answer to both of those questions is not an enthusiastic “YES!” then you need to do something about it.



Monday, December 2 – On A High Note



We’ve been receiving a lot of praise for our new logo design for The Brandermill Church’s Jesus & Music brand. Get it? We do a bunch of pro bono creative work for my church, well because, #1 They are very nice and do great work and #2 I’m trying to get in good with the Big Guy upstairs.





Tuesday, December 3 – Sprucing Things Up at Lucy Corr

This week, Communications Director Kent Brockwell and Account Executive Haleigh Newlin attended our client Lucy Corr’s Winter Wonderland Workshop. Residents tapped into the holiday spirit as they decorated their own cedar tree centerpieces with fresh evergreens and berries. Special thanks to the co-founder of The Arranger’s Market, Kate Vernon, who shared her fun DIY design tips that helped everyone channel their inner florist.





Wednesday, December 4 – Toast to Two Years!



On Wednesday, Director of Business & Marketing Leanne Ferry and I walked two blocks to celebrate her two years as a Madison+Main-iac. We enjoyed a glass of champagne over fancy lunch apps at Parterre as we toasted to her success. I speak on behalf of all of the Madison+Main-iacs when I tell you we’re super lucky to have a super-smiley rockstar like Leanne on our team.





Thursday, December 5 – The Pinnacle of Elegance



On Thursday afternoon Haleigh Newlin and Creative Director Art Webb took a personalized tour of our client Pinnacle Living’s Hermitage Richmond community. Their fabulous tour guide was none other than the Director of Marketing, Marcia Robertson. The historic CCRC is located in the heart of Ginter Park and the Madison+Main-iacs were blown away by the place. I think they all want to retire there. Want to see it for yourself? Take a virtual tour.


Friday, December 6 – One College Town To Another


This morning, Kent Brockwell provided VCU Mass Comm students some pro pointers to perfect their portfolios. In return, he snatched a few business cards to keep on hand so we can get a couple of rockstar interns. Speaking of which, if you know a young person who wants a shot the best, boldest internship experience in RVA, tell them to check us out because we are not accepting internship applications for Spring and Summer 2020.


As far as me? I’m making my way downtown, walking fast, and I’m homebound, channeling my inner Vanessa Carlton — in Lynchburg to create some fun holiday social media content for the Texas Inn. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for the final cuts and festive deals. Tomorrow night my beloved VCU Rams will take on the ODU Monarchs and crush their souls at the Siegel Center. Final prediction 69-41.






A Few of Our Favorite Events


Green Top Shooting Range Grand Opening

11547 Lake Ridge Parkway | Ashland, VA

December 7, 2019 | 11 a.m.


To officially celebrate its new outpost, Green Top will be hosting a Grand Opening Celebration on Dec. 7 at Green Top Shooting Range. The event will feature free lunch from Zaxby’s from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and a live remote broadcast by K95’s Garret Doll. They are also waiving the initiation fee for new memberships all day — a $50 savings. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend!


Virginia Spirits Roadshow: A. Smith Bowman Distillery

1 Bowman Drive | Fredericksburg, VA

February 8, 2019 | 12 – 5 p.m.


Come join us for the Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow at A. Smith Bowman Distillery! Tickets will include all samples of artisan spirits as well as craft cocktails from numerous Virginia distilleries; while guests can mix, mingle, and engage with Virginia distillers firsthand! Purchase any bottles you enjoy to take home — they’ll even store them at their concierge station while you enjoy the event. Save money by purchasing your tickets at the advanced promo prices vs. the day of: $20 for one general admission, or $35 for two general admission tickets.


Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!




“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

— Jeff Bezos