Offer Structure, Be Early and Be Patient!

The time of year has come when many people turn to fishing as means of getting out on the water and enjoying the summer weather (plus hopefully the taste of fresh seafood!) Whether you’re heading out alone for some peaceful solitude on a deserted pond or getting together with a bunch of friends to charter a deep sea trip on the open ocean, fishing can be a great way to spend a warm day.

Fishing is also a great metaphor for building your brand. Beyond the painfully obvious comparisons about “baiting a hook” for clients and the like, many of the elements that make for a successful fishing excursion also make for a successful branding effort. Following are three key takeaways someone looking to build their brand can glean from experienced fishermen (and women).

1. It’s all about structure. Fishermen know that fish congregate around structure. This can be pilings, a coral reef, a sunken boat; anything solid sitting beneath the surface of the water will do. Likewise, customers and bosses congregate around brands with “structure,” meaning brands with something of solid substance to offer. Fish do quite poorly when exposed to hot air, so do the targets of your branding efforts!
2. You can never be too early. Fish bite the most before most people wake up. When the sun rises, they are hungry and eager to snap at whatever may look like a tasty worm or bit of smaller fish. But even by mid-morning, the best fishing hours are usually over. The same is true for your branding efforts. Start branding at 6 AM and see how many more leads you get than if you start at 10 AM.
3. You can never be too patient. Fishing carries no guarantees. Even the most proficient fisherman will occasionally spend the day hunkered over a rod and reel and have nothing more to show for it at the end of the day than a great story about “the one that got away.” Experienced fishermen also know that sometimes a whole day without a bite can be quickly redeemed if you have the patience to wait for the one big fish that is ready to be reeled in.

Branding, like fishing, is often a painstaking process with no clear reward. The best brand-builders often spend countless hours trying to win a prize client or assignment and lose out to a competitor. Like the best fishermen, they pack up their gear at day’s end and head out bright and early the next morning. They also realize waiting a little longer for results often pays off.

So use a little fishing strategy and wisdom in your branding efforts. Or better yet, reward yourself for your next major branding accomplishment with an afternoon casting your line in the water. Invite a valuable prospect or contact along if you want to make it a “working holiday.”

What are some of your best “brand fishing” stories? Did you land a “big one,” or do you have any secret “fishing spots”?