Saying Goodbye to My All-Time Favorite Branding

This week, the best golfers in the world take aim at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina for the 114th U.S. Open. The event features a lot of juicy storylines, from Tiger Woods’ absence to the recent redesign of the hallowed venue.

One storyline has fallen largely through the cracks, however, with the notable exception of my golf buddy Alex Myers at Golf Digest. With the tournament telecast switching from NBC to FOX next year, what I consider to be the greatest theme music ever written will no longer be part of the broadcast.

And that is a bummer.

To me, “In Celebration of Man,” an instrumental piece of pure inspiration written originally for the 1992 Winter Olympics by the composer Yanni, is the U.S. Open. When the telecast begins and the first note plays, the hair on my arms stands up—every time!

I associate the piece so strongly with golf and the U.S. Open that I actually will start humming it to myself while I’m playing after a well-struck shot (it would be an insult to hum it after a poor shot).

Unlike the Masters, which is always played on the same golf course, the U.S. Open is played on a different course every year. The players change too. But for nearly two decades, Yanni’s masterpiece has been a constant.

In a nutshell, that is the power of great truly great branding. When you hear a jingle or read a phrase it makes you think, instinctively, of one single company, product or event. By the same token, inconsistent branding is not only ineffective, it can actually turn customers off.

Unless Yanni happens to be a personal friend, you’re probably not going to get him to write an epic theme like “Celebration” just for your company. But there is absolutely no reason why you can’t create strong associations in the minds of customers.

If your brand strategy is scattered at the moment, consider whittling it down to a single concept or statement—just for now. Work to perfect that concept and then build your branding back out from there. As you build, you’ll find that starting with one core idea that embodies your company will make it easier to stay consistent with your message through all of your other marketing efforts.

That is cause for celebration.

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