Branding Like a Magician

Brands are created by experts at a company’s headquarters to sell their products.

College-educated men and women pour over thousands of numbers in an attempt to figure out just what kind of brand their customers want to buy from.

But what if, instead of this classic image, the brand was created by a magician?

Magicians have historically created, well, magical brands. This was born out of necessity due to the public perception that all magicians are the same. If the guy charging $10,000 is supposedly the same as the guy charging $500, why pay extra?

The brand of the magician is what determined whether he or she would be booked over someone charging less.

Sound familiar? This is how it works in every industry. The difference between magicians and everyone else is that magicians are in the business of creating wonder, amazement, human connections, and unique memories that last for years to come; all things that companies hope to achieve with their brands.

So how would a magician go about crafting a brand for a corporate product? Let’s look at a classic example…

“Sell me this pen”

The classic line made famous by The Wolf of Wall Street is asked by hiring managers in interviews all over the world. It is essentially the “Riddle of the Sphinx” that job candidates have to answer in order to pass.

The challenge is crucially important because it forces you to come up with reasons why someone wants to buy the pen. Why should they spend money on your pen instead of someone else’s pen. After all, a pen is a pen, right?

9 times out of 10, the reason why someone would buy one pen over another — or hire one magician over another — is due to branding.

A product with a solid, consistent brand will have an amazing advantage over the competition. I’ve talked about this in previous articles; a brand tells a story, and people love good stories.

Enter the Magician

Every magician has a brand; top performing magicians have solid, well-defined brands that they have spent years perfecting. Their brands are specifically designed to be something their clients have never seen before and will never see again unless they re-hire that magician.

This requires the magician to do several things.

The magician must define the wonder of his/her shows and translate that wonder into a brand. This keeps the brand consistent with the product and gives it a unique place in the world.

The magician must identify what makes himself or herself unique. We all are 100% unique individuals, but most of us don’t like to act that way. We try to conform to what we know society will accept. A truly great brand for a magician is one that integrates authentic aspects of his/her personality, which will doubtless shine through during the performance.

The magician must present to the client why his/her magic show is different from the rest. This is especially difficult for magician because, like pens, most people assume all magicians are alike.

Through all the noise of competitors, a successfully branded magician is able to convey why his/her card tricks are worth spending thousands of extra dollars for over another’s.

A Magician’s 5 Step Guide to Branding

So what can we learn from magicians when it comes to branding? Here are 5 key things a magician would do when crafting a truly magical brand:

  1. Define what makes the brand unique.This is arguable the most important step in the branding process. Why should a customer buy your brand over another?
  2. Create a magical customer experience. Your product isn’t the only one on the market, but it should give the customers an experience like no other. How can you create a “magic moment” for your customers with your product?
  3. Tell a good story. People go crazy for good stories. When presented with a compelling story, consumers can’t help but listen. In a magic show, each magic trick is itself a story that captivates and engages the audience. How can you do the same with a brand?
  4. Add some personal authenticity (when applicable). This is most applicable to brands that you are closely tied to, such as a CEO or a performer. Adding some personal authenticity to your brand will show your customers that you are indeed a real person. This is crucial because we are more inclined to trust real, authentic people.
  5. Be a showman. Showmanship sells. This goes back to step 3. Present your brand like an incredible story, and sell it like one.

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