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"No! That's not Mr. Bean."​ A Branding Conversation (or argument) with my Son

Mr. Bean Street Art Image
Mr. Bean Street Art Image from terimakasih0 / 909 images

Rewriting a Branding Classic, Six Years Later!

Six years ago, when my son was just three years old, I wrote an article after a very interesting conversation/ argument we had while watching TV. Today, as I revisit this piece, my son is nine years old, but the lessons that old conversation holds are as important as ever.

The world of branding continues to evolve, yet the essence of what makes it so vital remains unchanged. - (I said that lol)

So back then, he was watching TV and I just happened to be in the same room working on something on my laptop. 'Scooby Doo' the movie was playing on the kids' channel he was watching, and the clip below is the part I saw (do yourself a favour and scroll to 00:30).

When I lifted my head, I said, "Ohh Mr. Bean is in this nice!" He turned around, looked at me in shock, and shook his head as he said, "No! That's not Mr. Bean!" I was surprised because I could see that was Rowan Atkinson so I argued with him a little more. "That's definitely Mr. Bean Kendrick, look carefully at that man," I said.

The little man had to get up from where he was sitting so he could knock sense into my head, "Mommy, that's not him, Mr. Bean doesn't talk, he uses sounds instead, and Mr. Bean doesn't dress like that, he just wears the same clothes every day.

Just to give you a little background, my son was a big fan of Mr. Bean. He loved the series, as well as the animated version. On this particular day, he was looking at one of his favourite TV characters but couldn't tell it was him because he was not dressed like Mr. Bean, and wasn't behaving the way Mr. Bean does. After having this argument which ended with us agreeing to disagree, I walked away with two fundamental branding truths worth reiterating today (yeah I settled for argument because it really wasn't a conversation now was it).

Now hear me out ...

1: The Power of Visual Consistency

Mr. Bean’s character is iconic, partly because of his consistent attire and demeanour. In all the Mr. Bean episodes my son had watched, Rowan Atkinson was always wearing his white shirt, brown pants, black shoes, light brown jacket and, a maroon tie ... with Teddy in his hand and sometimes, pocket. This consistency across all appearances made him immediately recognisable, building a strong brand.

The Lesson:

Just as a child could identify Rowan through his brand's consistent elements, so too can customers recognise and feel at ease with a brand that maintains visual consistency. Successful Brands Have a Consistent Look! Consistency leads to familiarity, familiarity leads to trust, and trust builds business.

2. The Importance of a Consistent Brand Voice

Mr. Bean’s communication style—characterised by unique sounds and gestures rather than spoken words—defines his brand voice. In all the Mr. Bean episodes my son had watched, the guy had never said any actual words. This consistency helped the three-year-old to connect with and remember the character, highlighting how a brand’s voice can deeply influence audience/ customer perception and engagement.

The Lesson:

The conversation with my son highlighted another crucial aspect of branding: the alignment of a brand with its audience's expectations. Just as my son expected Mr. Bean to appear and act in a certain way, your audience expects certain things when they interact with your brand. Deviating from these expectations can lead to confusion and a disconnect, just as my son felt watching a talking Mr. Bean in a different outfit.

The Enduring Relevance of Branding

Fast forward to today, and these lessons remain incredibly relevant. In a digital age where new brands and rebrands pop up constantly, the need to be distinct through consistency has never been more critical. Branding isn’t just a business necessity; it’s a key element of identity in a crowded market. There will never be a time when effective branding isn't a cornerstone for business success.

As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of marketing and design, let’s remember that the core principles of branding—consistency in visual identity and voice—are timeless. These principles not only help in distinguishing a brand but also in embedding it in the hearts and minds of its audience. At Cheny Media, we are committed to helping businesses realise the power of their brand identity and harness it for lasting impact.

My parting words for this week are: Be Your Brand, not your brand's look alike!

Update on Mr. Bean's Brand Enforcer

From schooling me on Mr. Bean’s wardrobe, here's Kendrick at 3 versus now at 9. I guess time flies when you're always right!

Then at 3, and now at 9. Still occasionally stubborn!
Then at 3, and now at 9. Still occasionally stubborn!


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