Dr. Seuss and the Art of Branding

Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday was celebrated last week, and as we all know by now, Dr. Seuss books are about far more than imaginary worlds with funny-looking trees and using rhymes to teach numbers and colors.

“Yertle the Turtle” was modeled after the rise of Hitler, complete with Seuss’ feelings on fascism, Nazis, and delusions of grandeur.

“The Butter Battle Book” was such a blatant reference to the Cold War and the arms race that it was pulled from library shelves.

“The Lorax” is basically a commentary on industrialized society, pitting the industry (the Once-ler) against the environment (the Lorax).

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is an obvious nod to the increasing commercialization of Christmas and the importance of retaining the true spirit of the season.

And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the meaning inside the 46 children’s books he wrote.

And the Art of Branding

Sometimes the best way to communicate with your audience is through a well-executed story. Being an artist, Dr. Seuss had a knack for subtly articulating a strong message. And this is important, because it can be a great tool in your branding arsenal, too.

Building your brand is like creating art in that meaning is built into every facet of design and execution. Although many people won’t recognize it right away, you’ll find that your message connects with them on a deeper level and builds a mutual understanding, an unspoken bond.

Simon Sinek does a great job of expressing this idea in his TED talk, “How great leaders inspire action.” Basically, he explains that people connect with the “why” of company before they connect with “what” the company sells. It’s a brilliant observation to be able to articulate, but it’s not easy to recognize.

Apple integrates “why” into every message, every product, and every ad. We see the art they create, and we want product. We don’t always say, “Wow, they’ve told a great story here!”

But they have.

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