This has shown me one thing for sure: beliefs build brands. Fast. If you’ve been online AT ALL (which you must be if you’re reading my blog right now) you have most likely come across an article or more likely a Facebook friend who has changed their profile picture to the red equal sign. It got to the point yesterday that pretty much my entire Facebook page was nothing but red equal signs and it was nearly impossible to tell one friend from another. But so powerful was this symbol that everyone dropped their personal brands in favor of this, to them, important political expression.
This week the Supreme Court has been arguing over a law that was enacted back in 1996, called the Defense of Marriage Act. You can read the endless articles and op-ed pieces about this hearing on any number of news sites, but the ruling and its subsequent possible repeal is not what I’m most interested in in this case. My focus is on its power of emotional branding. In minutes after that red equal sign popped up on the first social media site, millions of other people had adopted it as their own in solidarity with a stance they believed in. This is why things like awareness ribbons are so popular. Because in reality they’re nothing more than 1″ chunks of metal pinned to your shirt or jacket, but their emotional connection makes them so much bigger and grander than their outward appearance.
And traditionally non-emotional issues, and businesses, can learn something from the powerful way the red equal sign swept across the internet. Don’t be afraid to take a stand. Whatever that may be, if you stand up for something, others will find the same courage, and they’ll support you and your brand for it. From awareness ribbons to the golden arches, if you can tie an emotion to an image, your brand will be unstoppable.