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When people talk about branding, they mention stuff about know who you are, be authentic, tell a story, and show your personality. And that’s all good and true. You’re brand needs to show all of that in order to succeed. However, people forget one very important aspect of branding. Something so important, that when you read this, you’re mind will be blown away! Maybe… Probably not… But it’s still important!

This aspect of branding is something you should be spending a lot of time on and should be a part of your branding strategy.

Say whaaaaat?!?!


This aspect of branding is often overlooked by people and organizations. However, trying to pursue something you are not can actually cause negative outcomes to the brand.

The best example of a company that went from success, to not knowing who they were, to re-establishing their success again is the CFL: Canadian Football League.

Canadian Football League

The CFL was officially founded in 1958. It is the highest level of professional football played in Canada. It was the only All-Canadian professional sport league at the time. They had a lot of success and growth throughout the years.

In the 1990s, the CFL decided: “Hey, we’re football, Americans like football, so we should expand into the US. We only have a couple rules that are different, and they probably won’t care about that. Let’s try to be the NFL.” This was a bad idea on their part, because they lost touch of who they aren’t. They are the Canadian Football League, not an American football league. That is not the same, and they failed to identify this.

Needless to say, the American expansion failed. By 1996, the CFL was once again an All-Canadian football league. By 1997, they were in serious financial troubles, and had to borrow some money from the NFL in order to continue.

In 2002, when Tom Wright became commissioner of the CFL, he decided to refocus it’s branding. He focused on the fact that the CFL is the only All-Canadian professional sport league. He realized that it wasn’t the NFL, and they shouldn’t try to pursue the same actions as them. The CFL was NOT the NFL. During his time, he created brand loyalty among Canadians with the CFL and raised attendance tremendously. The Grey Cup is now a very popular event, and there is national pride revolving around the league. This all happened because the CFL realized who they aren’t, and focused on who they are.

Do you have any other examples of brands that failed because they didn’t realize who they aren’t? Any examples of brands that succeeded because they realized who they aren’t?