I am one of those people you love to hate. My desire to begin decorating for Christmas starts in early October, and I’m usually able to hold off until the second week in November, but hardly ever longer than that. This year, it was especially tempting to start earlier. I have been daydreaming about our family stockings for years, and this Christmas, they are being hung with care for the first time.
We are a new family of four, this Christmas being the first for our youngest and only the second for our oldest. My husband and I have used our childhood stockings for the past 12 years. The mismatched stockings were adorably nostalgic, and I just kept putting off buying matching ones because I was holding out for kids. Fast-forward a couple years, and here we are. So, I was ecstatic to don our new matchy-matchy socks this year!
I started to think about why this tiny holiday detail excited me so, and it’s clear I’ve been here before in my professional work. What is essentially occurring with these new stockings is a consolidation of brands—a creation of a familial, “corporate” brand, if you will. Having gone through various rebrandings, along with the combination of several brands under a new corporate brand, this feeling is very familiar. The kids are new to the situation; but, especially for my husband and me, it is like we are finally unified, along with our children.
In the corporate world, combining brands is a tricky task. You have to respect the current brands individually while still creating something new enough for all those involved with the brands to feel appropriate ownership. Creating brand identity is a very intentional thing; and, just as my stockings did, should evoke a very specific feeling.
When it comes to sustaining multiple brands under one umbrella, I get it. You have your boutique brand, your more accessible brand, your white label, etc., and those should be kept separate but equal. But when it comes to combining companies —which oftentimes means combining families, histories, traditions and standards— you have to be careful not to continue to force those entities into the proverbial silos we are constantly trying to break out of. Therefore, we embark on the quest for the perfect, inclusive, united “family” brand.
I know y’all must think I’m crazy to equate matching Christmas stockings to the unifying of organizational brands, but this is the stuff that keeps me up at night. I find the parallels between the nitty-gritty of corporate culture and communications philosophies and the way we live our everyday lives to be very interesting. At the end of the day, it’s all about us wanting to be a part of something bigger than ourselves—and I think that’s a wonderful sentiment, especially during this holiday season.
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