The brand has no clothes

We have all heard the parable. But more and more it seems that it is brands, not emperors, who have no clothes. 

Is yours one of them? All pretence and no substance? Are you walking naked in your marketplace with everyone seeing the truth of your brand but you?

I have been writing and working with brands for years (and more recently writing here about them). And I look around every year and see many millions of dollars being spent by companies trying to “buy” a brand that will make people believe in their company, its products and services.

But belief and sustainable brand value cannot be the sole creation of an advertising, design (or any other kind of) agency, or found solely under the province of the marketing department or industry.

It can only be found in the tangible expression of what you believe to be true about yourselves and what your actions as a company show to be true – and that comes from within your organisation.

I know I ask a lot of companies and their brands, and have talked about this topic before. But I passionately believe that this matters. Please don’t treat it lightly, just slap a face on it, or be tempted to think that if you just say it loudly enough, often enough, in enough places, then it will be true.

When you treat your brands as a marketing tool instead of using marketing to connect your brand to your marketplace, you undervalue its power.

When you hire people or fire people without thinking about your brand, you undermine its strength.

When you launch products or services without considering how they fit within your brand, you undersell their potential.

I implore you, don’t be one of the companies that treats their brand like the clothes made by the swindlers in the fable “Emperors New Suit” – just a fabrication that will eventually leave you exposed before all those who encounter it.

Be the one who becomes an example to others for the right reasons. Whose values and actions align; who keep their promises down the line (even when no one else is looking); who will stand and defend what they truly believe.

Be that brand. (I know you can.)



Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.

To see more Michel Hogan blogs, click here.


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