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What You Can Learn from the Most Expensive Branding in the World

This summer Murray and I visited the Boeing Factory and discovered something that really surprised us.

The paint on the side of airplanes can weigh as much as half a ton and eat up serious fuel to fly that extra weight around.

American Airlines recently estimated that minimizing paint across their fleet would save them $19M in annual fuel costs.

Yet companies from Korean Air to budget provider Spirit Airlines know that it’s a solid investment to paint their planes from head to toe with their brand color and logo.

But for many online entrepreneurs, branding & design is at the bottom of their priority list..

They think their content speaks for itself. That the quality of their expertise, products or services will shine through regardless of whether it comes in a pretty package.

They’re wrong.

Just like Korean Air needs to stand out against 5000 other airlines, you need to stand out against other people who do what you do or sell similar products or services.

We live in a world where you need both the sizzle and the steak.

It’s the sizzle that calls your attention to the steak, that gets your mouth watering in anticipation, and makes it taste even better.

And that’s how the non-verbal cues of your business work. The more you repeat the visual elements of your brand, the more they start to build associations that add a level of meaning that goes far beyond what it is that you actually do or sell.

So take your lesson from the airlines: It’s not enough to just get your plane in the sky… you need to get butts in seats and one way to do that is to leverage the non-verbal cues you send through your brand to pull your audience in.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend like you’re James Bond or it’s 1999.

You can share your brand online for free.

P.S. Just in case you’re curious, here’s my top 10 list of opulent (and sometimes ridiculous) branding applications:

  1. Carry Half a Ton of Paint through the Air
  2. Advertising Doritos on the Super Bowl (and other major sporting event ads & sponsorships)
  3. Placing an Audi in the James Bond Movie (and other product placements)
  4. Victoria Secret’s Fantasy Bra (made of diamonds)
  5. Digital Billboards in Times Square and other high-profile urban print ads
  6. The GoDaddy Race Car (and everything else you can slap on the side of a car going hundreds of miles an hour or a man running the 4-minute mile)
  7. Nekker Island, Trump Tower and other monuments to wealth and lifestyle
  8. Sauvage by Johnny Depp (dubbed online as “Sausage”) and other celebrity spokespeople
  9. Hiring Damien Hurst to embalm a shark to put in your corporate lobby (or some other ad exec’s fantasy)
  10. Tattooing your logo on Kim Kardashian’s ass or Mike Tyson’s face

Let me know in the comments what you would add to this list.

Great suggestion from Tammy: The brand that does not form an emotional connection between you and your potential client/customers.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Cynthia Avatar

    Hiring Peter Max to paint a cruise ship (Norwegian did this)!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Nice one!

  2. Nicola Avatar

    very curious observation, thanks Marisa. As a folk musician, I am so aware of how we folkies tend to downsize our image as a rule, as opposed to rock stars with their flash and dazzle. hmmm…maybe i’ll start wearing tutus to my gigs!

  3. Kelly Avatar

    Yes. Sizzle and the steak even if the steak isn’t Kobe beef.

  4. Hinda Avatar

    I think words or names are important for branding. Name that say what you do.
    Like “LIVE YOUR MESSAGE.” Branding on a simple but in a STAND OUT method. I loved your post as I love all that you bring us.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thank you Hinda…. now go out there and Live Your Message!

  5. alan Avatar

    At the Superbowl – you do have a captive audience for your brand and especially for Doritios – it is a prime consumable for such events Plus at a million a minute – must be of value –

    Kim does have a big enough ass to use for logos – yet you have no respect for your product or clients – if you decide to use the space.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd


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