Brand Leadership - The Essential Role of Brand Parents

Brand Leadership - The Essential Role of Brand Parents

Wake the hell up

When we started in this crazy game of advertising and marketing, we weren't just dipping our toes in the water - we cannonballed into it. We soaked up knowledge like a sponge, and it wasn't just textbook crap. It was the real deal, hard-earned and practical. Somewhere along the line, we realized we had a mission. A big mission. We want business owners to wake the hell up and understand the true power and value of brands and brand leadership.

Who We're Talking To

When we sat down to write this piece, we had a few key players in mind. There are four groups we're talking to:


First up, the entrepreneur who already has a business. This isn’t some silver-spoon-fed heir who lucked into success. This is someone who clawed their way up, defying the odds and smashing through every obstacle. This brand leader started from scratch, trying to find their groove and nail down what their business is all about. They want to sort everything out, streamline their brand, and see results that are clear as day.


Then there’s the marketing director. These folks aren’t just clocking in and out - they give a damn about their brand and their reputation. They’re hustling to grow and build their careers, and they need to know the right way to handle brand leadership. For them, this knowledge is pure gold.


Next, we’ve got the startup enthusiast. Yesterday’s corporate drone or today’s budding entrepreneur. They’re on the edge, buzzing with that pre-launch excitement. Whether it’s now, in a month, or in three months, their new venture is about to hit the market. Here’s the deal: this is a critical time. There’s no second chance to make a first impression. How they launch will make or break their business.


And let’s not forget the aspiring young professional. These kids are 12-20 years old and still figuring out what they want to do with their lives. We want them to see the magic in this profession - a mix of mathematical precision and wild creativity. We want them to understand what brand leadership truly is and what it can do.

About Brand Parent project

In the Brand Parent project, we’re going to break down who the Brand Parents are. Here’s the kicker: the success of a brand hinges on who’s running the show. We’ll dive into what a brand means in today’s world because, let’s face it, in the age of Facebook, blockchains, and Bitcoin, a lot of people mistakenly think a brand is just a landing page.

We’ll dig into the nature of consumers - who they are, what we know about them, and why getting to the heart of what they want is crucial. We’re talking about uncovering the real stuff, the essential truths about people. The consumer is the lifeblood of every successful project.

Our series will also take a hard look at brand leadership strategy. What is it, and how do you do it right? Whether it’s about price, quality, or value, we’ll make sure your strategy isn’t just fluff.

In another article, we’re going to arm you with the tools you need for effective brand leadership. We’re talking about ensuring your brand's long-term success. You’ll learn why good brands are like woodpeckers: cohesive, consistent, and tough as nails against changing market conditions. They stay relevant while charging ahead in a clear direction.

We’re also going to shine a light on the power of design - one of the most underrated weapons in modern marketing. We’ll break down communication in today’s world - how to scream from the rooftops about something unique you’ve created and turn that story into cold, hard cash. We’ll get into how the size of your budget influences creativity and execution, and what you need to keep in mind when dealing with different media - whether it’s fresh and digital or old-school traditional. We’ll connect the dots between these platforms.

Then, there’s team leadership. We’ll dive into how to organize the people working on your brand. With so many moving parts and parallel processes, the success of your business hinges on how well your team is built and managed.

Through this Brand Parent project, we’re aiming to leave you with at least one to three powerful, no-nonsense truths that will become the bedrock of your brand leadership strategy.

A fisherman

Now, let’s picture a seafood market, a place buzzing with marketing energy. Some fishermen will have lines of customers waiting, while others will be shouting their lungs out, “Promotion, fresh shrimp, today only, come and try it!” This scenario is a daily grind in every market.

Think about how you choose shrimp. What’s your main criterion? Here’s a simple rule: if you like the fisherman, you’re damn likely to buy his shrimp. In reality, you’re not just buying shrimp; you’re buying the fisherman. You’re investing in your trust in him, confident that you’re getting the best for yourself or your family, better than what the store offers - even if that’s not actually the case. The market fisherman is the epitome of modern entrepreneurship. He’s got production, logistics, marketing, finance, general management, and a ton more on his plate.

And guess what? That fisherman is you. When we talk about what a brand is, we always bring it back to the simplest scenario: you’re the fisherman at the seafood market, and your consumer, your target audience, is the person who comes to you for shrimp. You give them an emotion, and they give you a transaction. The brand is everything that happens between the two of you. In today's world, a brand is the exchange of emotion for a transaction. A brand is an emotion. A brand is the margin that the consumer is willing to pay for that emotion.

Throughout our years in marketing, we've heard the same tired refrain many times: "All these brand leadership strategies are great, but we're not Coca-Cola or Procter & Gamble. We're a local wine producer or a craft beer maker; we have a completely different universe." Well, here’s some bad news for you, guys. If you're in business, you're going to have to run your own brand. As the owner, you can't delegate this function entirely. The main point we need to drive home is this: if you are the parent of the brand, if you own your business, then managing the brand is your responsibility.

The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is thinking that a good brand will magically appear by hiring a great marketing director.

"Oh, I need to get my brand in order. I need to hire a stellar marketing director."

And then...

99.9% of the time, getting the brand in order requires the business owner to be personally involved. Business/brand leadership is like sex; there are things in business that can't be delegated, and the owner, in our mind, is a job, not just a status.

A Great Disconnect

The scariest moment from a business perspective usually comes with the first, second, or third success. When the company is rising to a certain level and sales are hitting new heights, often a Great Disconnect happens.

The Great Disconnect happens when the business owner decides to cut the umbilical cord between themselves and the consumers. They start thinking it’s no longer their job, but rather the responsibility of others - marketing, sales, the CEO, anyone but them. This disconnect can take several forms, which we categorize as cabinet sickness, truffle sickness, and expert sickness.

Cabinet sickness happens when you keep working for the company but hide from your customers in the office. How do you beat cabinet sickness? Simple. Get the hell out of the office, hit the sales floor, engage with the right consumers, and spend maximum time communicating with them directly. We’ll dig into this more in the separate article dedicated to consumers.

Truffle sickness is all about the temptations that come when you’ve got money to burn. Your business is doing well, but you're tired and want to kick back. So, you find yourself in Cannes in the summer, Nice, St. Tropez, the Maldives or Thailand in the winter, or cruising around Europe in a convertible, maybe even skydiving. You’re already here, but your business is somewhere out there. Then, horror strikes - you go on Facebook and see that some punk tagged you in a post about a complaint. What do you do? You take a screenshot, send it to your manager, and block the user to keep your vacation bliss intact.

We get it, emotionally, but this is the Great Disconnect. As a business owner, you don’t have the luxury to communicate that way and treat consumers like crap. This is the beginning of the end because the consumer and the business owner need to stay in touch as much as possible.

Expert sickness kicks in as you grow your business and dive into business education. You start reading every business book out there, analyzing cases, building overly complex theories and concepts, and losing sight of the core issues. You end up overthinking everything.

Who is a Brand Parent?

When we launched OhBEV Agency, we stuck to three key principles:

1) Our priority client is the business owner - the Brand Parent.

2) We work with businesses that understand investing in a brand is about long-term success, not just immediate sales.

3) We don’t work with businesses that have unrealistic expectations, like wanting $100 today to turn into Apple-level success tomorrow.

With these principles, we took a leap of faith. Starting any business feels like jumping off a cliff - you don’t know if you’ll land on rocks or in a turquoise ocean. But we jumped because we believed wholeheartedly in our idea. We believe that a business owner who takes charge of their brand is a critical, yet often overlooked, factor in the success of most brands.

So, what is a Brand Parent? Who is a Brand Parent? A Brand Parent should be a provocateur and a consumer advocate. They must step out of the company, put themselves in the consumer’s shoes, and demand change on the consumer’s behalf. A Brand Parent is a mindset. They embody creative brand leadership, take responsibility, and maintain a sense of internal freedom.

Being a Brand Parent isn’t just about dominance or being a dictator. It’s about being willing to create and lead. It’s about bringing people and companies together to create something unique and achieve a breakthrough in the market.

Becoming a Brand Parent

Brand marketing isn’t some mysterious art or overly complex science filled with jargon. It’s common sense mixed with drive and a willingness to embrace the future.

A brand is an organization’s ability to anticipate consumer desires and adapt its products, communication, and operations to meet those future needs.

For this to happen, business owners have to get their hands dirty in brand leadership. We call these owners Brand Parents - those who pour their energy, soul, and personal drive into their brand and business. These are the people who create successful brands. Without this commitment, a brand becomes a homeless entity, drifting between departments and only occasionally spitting out basic promotional materials. A true brand embodies the soul of the business, infusing every aspect with energy and emotion. This impacts consumers, employees, partners - everyone involved.

Every successful brand, especially during its launch and early growth stages, has a person with a particular mentality behind it. This person is the Brand Parent.

If a business owner consciously distances themselves from their business and consumers, delegating everything to managers who often act like robots, the Great Disconnect occurs. When the consumer, owner, and business are separate, the brand suffers. This must be avoided. You have to take ownership of the brand, invest your time and energy into it. It's not just about having a large or small media budget; it’s about the future of your business. Take charge of your brand leadership and become a Brand Parent.

As a leading alcohol marketing agency, we are committed to covering Brand Parents' stories to let brand owners spread their voices to the audience about them and their brands, share fail/success stories. This is our commitment to help Brand Parents reach their goals and wake the hell up the industry to understand the true power and value of brands and brand leadership. And we're doing it FOR FREE!

Schedule a call to tell the world about your Brand Parent story and your brand