What is the Brand of a Tomato?By Burkey Belser
April 5, 2016
Silly question, right? But if I replace “brand’ with “essence,” I don’t find the question so difficult to answer nor so silly to ask. Your platonic tomato may be different from mine but, you know what, I don’t think so. Tomatoes should be tasty first and foremost, acidic and sweet, liquid and firm, soft-shouldered and similar in feel. Tomatoes are red. Yes, violets are blue but tomatoes are really, really red. PMS 185. Red is exciting; pale, flat pinkish-red is not. Have I explained enough? You know without a doubt when you have found a fabulous tomato whether you allow your gut to confirm it or not. It’s not like thumping a cantaloupe or watermelon. I grew up in the South, know all the thumping rules, but unless I can smell the waft of watermelon at its stem, like a dog on a mission, I cannot for the life of me recognize perfection in a melon. No, I lie. It’s the smell that confirms a brilliantly fresh melon. And I know perfection in a tomato; I know it when I see it. I don’t even have to touch it. How is that?
When we look at brands, I will assert you know it when you see it. Steve Jobs understood it. Leila and Massimo Vignelli understood it. You do too but you lie to yourself and let so much noise in that you cannot hear the clear bell sound of a magnificent brand. Perhaps, you can’t give voice to what you know, but I will tell you that you know authenticity and excellence of a brand in a nanosecond. Research studies prove that people draw a conclusion about the quality of a website within 1/20th of a second. That’s not frontal cortex; that’s reptilian brain. Fight or flight. That’s as instant as an instant can be for human beings. We spend so much time talking about brand when so few understand brand. We spend so much time creating brand and then, failing to understand it, let the newborn, the fresh green brand wilt and die from lack of water or nurture because we thought birth was everything. In fact, the birth of a brand is just the beginning.
We are all in the middle of a new spring right now. You see the leaves on the trees limp and wet and weak, waiting for the nurture that will launch them to full-blown PMS 569. You see the flowers bud, creeping out to become adults in an explosion of, what, testosterone or estrogen, that leads to a brief and uncanny life? All of this with careful childlike observation gives you the entire checklist you need to look at your own brand so you can say, “Marvelous. What an amazing thing to see. How proud I feel to be part of this.”