With every object a story.

In 2001 I went to the OSU vs Purdue skull session. It was there despite playing woodwinds since 5th grade and not being much of an Ohio state fan that I decided I was going to be in the Ohio State marching band. This obviously was met with harsh criticism from my peers at the time. Every day I was met with doubt and adversity from the brass players at my high school. “You have no chance they said.” Guess I showed them.

Above is a small piece I wrote on Facebook about my fifth year ring. This is the ring I received when I completed my fifth year as a member of The Ohio State University Marching Band. It is a small item that I do not wear very often. It however symbolizes a lot about who I am and a major part of my life.

One of the things that really stuck with me about the ring and the story it represents was the fact that I had to work very hard to achieve it. In my mind it is a symbol of a part of my life that I worked very hard for. Most notably, it was the last time I can recall really putting my full effort into something and seeing a tangible result. Beyond the memories it represents in the past it also provides me with hope for goals and achievements in the future. A constant reminder that I have done it before and can do it again.

Recognizing the story this small, somewhat shiny object unveiled made me think about how important story is to branding. Brand is largely about the story you tell as an organization. Every product you make, every service you sell, every decision has a greater story behind it. Think of the time old saying “a picture says a thousand words”.  When was the last time something pulled a story from you? What in your mind was brought forth from a simple ring, a glorious sunset, a bustling electric skyline? How many inanimate objects that may represent little to few but so many memories, lessons, and dreams to others are out there? Every object has a story, what object tells yours?

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