What Transformers can Teach you About Better Branding
Photo-A-Day #1600

You probably know who is holding up the skateboard. He may have changed a bit for his recent movie roles but that is Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots a faction of robots from a planet called Cybertron. Why do I know this 25 years after this toy came out? Yes, I am a huge fan of the line and know way more about it than I could ever forget about any other subject. Yes, I have about 400 of these toys in boxes and on display.

Photo-A-Day #803 06/20/07

I’m a fan of the toys and I am also aware of the power of the brand. And you thought I was going to say the power of the Matrix of Leadership… (and not that lame excuse in the recent travesty against the line Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen I mean the one that will Light Our Darkest Hour that comes from Optimus Prime’s Chest pulls apart and shoots a beam of energy defeating Unicron, that Matrix) You weren’t… oh yeah I guess not… I’m a big geek.

The thing about the Transformers that makes them endure for over 25 years is the brand, the story and the mythos surrounding the characters.

Wheeljack

The Brand – When Transformers came out in 1984 the were essentially repackaged toys from the diaclone series of toys from the Takara company in Japan. Hasbro went to Japan and saw the robots, made a story about them, gave them a history and gave them depth, repackaged them and sold them as Transformers. These unrelated sets of robots that became cars, jets and a Mack truck were branded, repackaged and resold to an eager audience of 10 year old boys (sure there were other people too but this is partly my story and I’m telling it from my point of view).

Prime 3g

The Story – Without the story behind it the Transformers would just be a bunch of robots that turned into cars and back again. But with a story the Transformers were not just robots, in fact they were sentient beings from the planet Cybertron. They had been fighting a war for millions of years with neither side winning or losing. When things got desperate a brave group of Autobots (the good guys) set off in search of energon (what powers Transformers and their planet) to help their side. The evil Decepticons, a warlike race of Transformers attack the Autobots and board their (The Autobots’) ship. A battle ensues and the ship (The Ark) crashes into earth during the Jurassic period most likely. There the robots lie in stasis for millions of years until an eruption from the volcano they crashed into kicks the supercomputer (Teletran 1) back online. Teletran one sends out a probe to find the dominant species of the planet and reshape the Transformers so that they look like that species (Robots in disguise you know). Teletran 1’s probes figure that cars and trucks are the dominant species and so reshape the Transformers into those vehicles. The Transformers are reborn and their war begins anew on our planet.

The Mythos – In 1996 a group of Transformers fans started a convention called botcon. This kids toy was so beloved by so many that it continued to stay alive through various incarnations. The story was retold over and over through new series, comic books and even two major blockbuster movies.

Into the Fray

There are sites out there that simply cover news about transformers and there is news about them every single day. Artists and writers create independent works about the Transformers all the time. The Brand went beyond just being a brand, it became a household name and it will continue to be reinvented and rediscovered by fans for years to come.

Photo-A-Day #938 11/02/07

So what does this have to do with your blog and your brand? Well, for one thing you should have a brand. If you don’t have your own theme or you haven’t tweaked an existing theme to show your personal style then get on that, right now. You need to separate yourself from every other person who is saying or doing the same things that you are. Do you have a logo? Get one. Do you have your avatar uploaded to all social networks? Do it now. Are you branded for the iPhone? Get to it! How about a custom Twitter Background? Make one or better yet have me make you one for $15.00, sound fair, if so leave me a message on my contact page. I like to think that mind came out pretty nice. What are other ways that you can brand yourself. I spent $19 on a skin it custom skin for my flip, you aren’t going to miss that thing when it comes out.

Brand that Flip

And today I placed a rather large order from some very cool stuff for IZEAFest. Need a reason to go? I’ll give you 10 BETTER Reasons to attend IZEAFest 2009!

Tell your story – Are you sharing your personality, and your story with your readers. Is what you write coming from the heart or being motivated by the wallet. Are you crafting perfectly written SEO friendly posts with keywords and buzzwords but devoid of any real personal touch. Good for you, the search engines will find you just fine but who wants to read the same things that every other person in your niche is saying. And speaking of niches I don’t believe in them. I can easily be labeled a daddy blogger (that’s cool, I love the daddy bloggers) a photo bloggers (they are my people) or even sometimes a review blogger (I’ve got some mean reviewing skills) but I don’t think that you can completely pigeonhole me into one specific category. I’m not going for that. I’m here to tell my story, mostly for me but also for you. For me because I want to know years from now what I did on April 9 2005, my 31st birthday. (I started taking a photo every single day in case you were wondering). I want to be able to read what I wrote about taking Eva home from the hospital or for the day I proposed to Allison. These are experiences that are part of my story. And that is what I’m telling here.

Non Famous Bloggers

As for Mythos, well I’m not sure I’ll achieve that level where people are tweeting every word I say, re-posting my quotes or wanting me to speak at conferences (Which I’ve done twice and would love to do again). Who knows, do you think a blogger can have a mythos behind them, constantly reinventing themselves and staying in the forefront of people’s minds? If so who is doing it? How are they doing it and are they doing it well?

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9 Responses to “What Transformers can Teach you About Better Branding”

  1. […] The rest is here: What Transformers can Teach you About Better Branding […]

  2. Hey Ben,

    Loved the post. I’m a huge Transformers, Batman, comic book…well you get the idea. I really believe brands should tap into the story that made them a powerful brand in the first place. I always say, if you want to see what branding is all about, visit a comic book store.
    Anyways, I really enjoyed the post and maybe someday we can both share at a conference and gain massive followings like Brogan and the gang. If you want, maybe we should create our own conference.
    .-= Look at what Kevin Williams wrote blog ..Collecting vs. Connecting: What the Heck are Brands Doing? =-.

  3. BizBamboo says:

    Hi, I think its informative and useful for me. I have noted some points from
    this article, good article for me. Thank you very much for sharing. Regards,
    – Bizbamboo

  4. Drew says:

    Kevin,
    I’m all for collaboration. I agree with you about the comic book store and branding. Thanks for taking the time to comment here.

  5. Drew says:

    No problem Biz. You are welcome.

  6. Baba says:

    I’d say you are well on your way. You’ve got the branding thing going on quite well.
    .-= Look at what Baba wrote blog ..Welcome to FeedBurner =-.

  7. Drew says:

    Baba,
    Oh just wait till IZEAFest, as the expression goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  8. Art Smith says:

    The toy market is a crazy place, the life span of those products is not very long but I bet they make a killing.
    .-= Look at what Art Smith wrote blog ..3 reasons art is a better investment than stock =-.

  9. Drew says:

    Art,
    Maybe the newer stuff but the originals last pretty well. I have all my toys from 1984.