Our Danny has written a blog explaining the importance of staying true to your brand, even (and especially) when you're a hobo turned world-famous blues musician.
At BB we often take our brands home with us. Now and again that includes going out for a drink or a gig, where the branding conversation can carry right on: take two weeks ago in Glasgow for example, where 2500 fans packed in to the Kelvingrove Bandstand for a night of full volume trance boogie blues rock with diddly bow maestro Seasick Steve. Now there is a man who Lives his Brand. Rough-voiced hobo-hearted check-shirted redneck laments from a guy who can't afford but three strings on a second-hand guitar and yearns for a new John Deere tractor. Authenticity. Except, well, nobody is quite 100% sure about that these days.
It was that supposed authenticity that propelled Steve from nowhere into a meteoric career trajectory after a single appearance on Jools Holland's Hootenany show. We got the brand statement before Steve played a note, and once our ears were opened we were assaulted by a musical talent that engaged and retained a faithful following. Whatever the facts and the back story there was a first rate musician at work here, attested to by some of the people Steve has played with since, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin being a notable example.
Our brand radar was twitching at the show, because of what wasn't there anymore: no John Deere hat, no songs or anecdotes about tractors, including some of Steve's brilliant early paeans of praise for those fine machines. Sadly missed, we wondered if this was partly due to the dilution of Steve's authenticity as a redneck character: you can't mess with a brand as authentic as John Deere if you don't have the real credentials yourself.
Now an established talent, Steve doesn't have to worry too much about those now muddied origins legends. He was rocking a loyal audience last night and will be filling gigs for years to come, but there is a brand takeaway in his story. If you're going to Live your Brand, Love your Brand and Be your Brand just remember that engaging power of authenticity. And keep it real. A brand is not just a Launchpad: it's a life.