I’ve lived in Asheville, NC going on three years. I’ve met some really neat people. Seen some cool work and rubbed shoulders with beaucoup makers and business owners. Most are quite grounded. Recently, I visited with some people with a graphics and printing business, doing carrier reroute sort snail mail and automobile wraps — and they are absolutely killing it; businesses that wouldn’t have a chance in most places. Must be the water.
I’ve also met some people who are slogging along. Restaurants here are closing almost as quickly as they are opening. Outside investors are coming to town with an eye toward extracting better margins (read: HCA, Anheuser Busch In-Bev, the guys who bought New Belgium). Yet whether slogging or sledding, one thing most businesses seem unconcerned about is brand strategy. They are blocking and tackling so hard they don’t understand the true business asset brand strategy can be – not beyond name and logo.
Mission Health is running ads telling us “people are its mission.” Devils Foot Beverage thinks “keep it simple, keep it fresh” will distance it from other ginger beers. (In a dogfight with creators of complexity and staleness???) And Keller Williams Real Estate positions around “people not properties.” What the…?
This city is pregnant with creative products, services, ideas and money. It’s a bubbling cauldron. I salivate over the possibilities. So I’m going to do something about it. I’m offering any and all businesses in Asheville a free day of brand planning. Open up to me, answer some questions, allow me to dig and speak with some customers and when the day is over – plus a little time to collect and organize my thoughts — I’ll present some cursory insights that will alter your views of branding for years to come.