CEO: Brand Like Mister Softee


Those from my generation can remember playing as children (we didn’t have video games, Facebook, Instagram, smartphones, or helicopter parents), when, suddenly, the familiar tune of the Mister Softee truck filled the air.

No matter our location or activity, we froze in place, then ran home, at top speed, to get money for ice cream. We had to buy ice cream, at that moment, because we loved it so much. What a business!

We responded to the tune, because music is an emotion-driver. The essence of branding is finding your audience’s emotional trigger.

The buyer of factory-automation software, for example, fears an assembly-line shutdown at 2 AM. That fear, an emotion, must dominate the brand. The driver of the Mister Softee truck did not announce on a loudspeaker the products’ ingredients, did he? He would have had zero customers.

Watch Eddie Murphy brilliantly describe this ice-cream phenomenon:

Your goal, as CEO, is to elicit an analogous emotional reaction to your brand, even if you’re selling factory-automation software. You scoff at this? Ask your #1 salesperson.

Perhaps you believe that execs always act rationally and logically and numerically, in the best interest of shareholders. It ain’t so. Explain the total waste of money on Super Bowl commercials. On the golf course, CEOs want bragging rights. Pure emotion.
Parting Advice to CEOs

Your #1 priority is branding. Your brand is the tip of the arrowhead. If that tip is dull, if your brand is weak, the arrow won’t stick in its intended target. Two choices: sharpen it or keep spending and spending to reshoot that dull arrow.

Brand like Mister Softee; people will react to your tune. They’ll remember and recommend your product — thereby cutting your costs of sales, capital, and media. Of course, in this PC era, with the food police in constant pursuit, you’d better be selling kale and celery sticks.


About the Author

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.


© 2014 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.


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