creative haberdashery

Why ice cream lovers choose vanilla over rocky road


Vanilla ice cream! Nom, nom, nom

Given the choice of any flavor in a cooler filled with ice cream of every imaginable taste profile, the number one choice is still vanilla.* Vanilla’s brand story is honest and straightforward, complex and subtle, and totally true to itself. It makes no apologies and compares itself to nothing. It isn’t plain vanilla. It is unapologetically, proudly, itself.

The reason for this story (and the fact I’m seriously craving vanilla ice cream) is that people instinctively favor products and companies that are true to themselves. Things that feel real. There’s no worry with vanilla. Its richness and complexity are never in doubt. There’s going to be a connection with vanilla that is happy and satisfied.

The same can be said about the best brand stories. They share not just why a brand is a good choice, but why customers should feel good about that choice. Here are some things to consider when building your own brand story:

Stay simple. Like vanilla ice cream, don’t get over-complicated. Refine your message until it’s short, to-the-point and memorable. Avoid long words and formal structure.

Be unique. Even among vanilla ice cream, there are differences. One might be vanilla bean. Another, French vanilla. That’s what makes them unique, just like your brand story reveals something unique about you.

Make a connection. Vanilla ice cream makes people feel comfortable. Your brand story should do the same. Any good salesperson can tell you that good business comes from relationships and springs from a willingness to share something of yourself.

Be yourself. Your company has its own culture. That means something to both customers and employees. Don’t try to emulate the competition. Like vanilla ice cream, be yourself.

Unique, ownable brand stories infuse a company’s passion and beliefs into every point of contact. That makes a huge difference in a worldwide culture that merges product choices with personal brand stories.


*According to a 2014 Baskin-Robbins survey, vanilla is the country’s favorite ice cream flavor. Graphic: Parade Magazine, Conde-Nast Publishing.

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