Building a luxury brand
About 20 years ago, someone tried to describe a brand to me thusly: imagine in your mind a small, long rectangular white box on a store shelf. By itself, that box means nothing to the average consumer. But place a small red triangle on that box, along with the letters…C…r…e…s…t…and what you have is something else altogether. At that point, to millions of Americans that small box immediately means to them fewer cavities, fresher breath and whiter teeth.
“That,” said this person, “is what a brand is. A brand is a set of expectations in a consumer’s mind that he or she attaches to a particular person, place, product or company.”
Now, take that concept and apply it to luxury products and companies, like Four Seasons Hotels, Rolex Watches, Cartier Jewelers or Tiffany & Co., to name just a few.
That’s where we at the USGBC find ourselves at Greenbuild 2013. And that’s why I continue to hear the word “brand” being bandied about in numerous conversations in and around a number of sessions and on the exhibit floor.
This organization has spent almost a quarter of a century in the dogged pursuit of creating a luxury product, one full of hopes and dreams – in our case, that product is the Platinum level of our LEED v4 rating system – and we must now treat that luxury product of ours with the same missionary-like zeal that Tiffany for over 100 years has treated everything from its store windows at Christmastime and its high-end clientele to its precious (and now patent-protected) color blue.
Rather than get into specifics of the branding task that lies ahead of us here, let me just simply say that now that the USGBC has created, arguably, the aspirational product in the building industry, you can rest assured we will be moving forward thinking as much as marketers in the future, as we do scientists, teachers, advocates, preachers, cheerleaders, ninja warriors, bridge-builders and seekers of a better tomorrow.