“A brand is the promise of an experience.”

Alexander Isley

Picture this: You’re at a magic show, and the air is thick with anticipation. The lights dim, the curtain rises, and out comes the magician, cloaked in mystery and a questionable fashion sense. Will you witness a breathtaking spectacle that defies reality, or will you be stuck watching a guy pull quarters out of his nose? The choice, my friends, is much like the one you face when building a brand. Are you aiming for awe-inspiring wonder or a forgettable parlor trick?

Let’s consider two types of magic shows, shall we? First, there’s “WizMart,” where the moment a customer steps in, they’re greeted by a puff of lavender-scented smoke and a holographic wizard who guides them through the aisles. It’s not just toilet paper—it’s a quest for the “Scroll of Softness.” It’s an experience, a spectacle, a magical journey where the customer is the hero, and your brand is their trusty spellbook.

Then there’s “OrdinaryMart,” where you walk in and it’s just shelves. Shelves and fluorescent lights that make everyone look like they’ve been embalmed. Customers grab their toilet paper and leave. No magic, no story, just a transaction. It’s like going to a magic show and the magician just hands you a rabbit. “Here, it’s a rabbit. Happy now?”

So here’s the choice you face every day, whether you realize it or not: Are you building a WizMart or an OrdinaryMart? Are you a magician dazzling your audience, or are you just handing them a fluffy animal for a second? Because, let’s face it, life’s too short for ordinary when you can create extraordinary.

You see, every decision you make—whether it’s the the people you hire, the promises you make, or even how you answer the phone—adds a brushstroke to the larger painting that is your brand. It’s like crafting a spell. You need the right ingredients: a dash of storytelling, a sprinkle of spectacle, and a whole lot of heart.

And just like a magician practices tirelessly to perfect their act, you too must refine each element until it’s nothing short of magical. It’s not about “crafting your brand” in some grand, abstract sense. It’s about the little choices that accumulate into a grand performance, a spellbinding experience that leaves people wondering, “How did they do that?”

Remember, the best brands, like the best magicians, keep people coming back for more. They leave them wondering, “How did they do that?” And in that moment of awe, you realize your customers aren’t just buying a product—they’re buying into a world you’ve conjured, a little piece of magic that’s uniquely yours.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.