Can you taste your brand?

Oct 21 2015

by Haile McCollum



Odd question. I know. You can literally taste the Harry Potter brand at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida (Butterbeer anyone?). I’m fresh off a couple of days with my boys (11 and 8 years old) in the village of Hogsmeade and Daigon Alley. My close friends will tell you, I’m not a theme park kind of girl.

But this was different. This was a brand experience immersion. I put on my branding lenses and looked hard at this experience. Woah.


I’m not going to ruin it for you if you have not been. So I’m going to show off some of the smallest details that enchanted me and reinforced the Harry Potter brand experience:



The sign on the left was in the ladies room and the sign on the right was by our outdoor table in the “Pub” where we ate pasties.


The ultimate brand experience were the interactive wands – you wave them about in specially marked places on an antique looking map and things happen. The frog shaped water fountain turns on, writing appears on a scroll, you get the idea, it’s cool. You are a wizard and you have a wand.

When you sign your credit card receipt (and you do plenty of that) they say “please sign, as the ministry of magic requires a signature”.

I could go on and on about this experience and the details that reinforced the brand, but let me tie this up in a nice bow for you and come back to reality.

Brand experience – in a nut shell – is the way that your customers interact with your brand – is paramount to building a strong brand. But often, it’s not at the top of the “to do” list for small businesses. Selling your product, making payroll, hiring and firing tend to overtake your day-to-day.

One of my big light bulb moments at the Summit last year was to “work on your business, not in your business”. Building a right-on-target brand experience is a great example of working on your business and your brand.

I’d challenge you to look at what experiences you are sharing with your customers and think about how you can make even small interactions contribute, rather than detract, from your brand. How do you answer the phone, ask for payment, what do your garbage cans look like?


See the D? Yep. These are branded trash cans!

I’m going to see if I can get the interactive wand to put the boys to bed. But, then again, I don’t think I’ll need much help after all the Wizarding World of Harry Potter excitement over the last few days.






Haile McCollum View More Blog Posts from this Author

Haile is the Owner of Fontaine Maury a brand and design firm in Thomasville, Georgia. Fontaine Maury works with emerging and growth minded companies and non-profits to engage their audiences in a more meaningful way and maximize profits. She develops, documents and extends brands through creative business strategies including: brand messaging, brand strategy, print design and digital design.

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