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Is Your Brand Tattoo Material?

Eric Groves

By Eric Groves

What is a brand? A nice logo? A catchy tagline? An image? A font?  A color? A set of standards?

While a brand can’t exist without these items, the true definition of a brand is much, much more than those things. 

Great brands move far beyond these tangible items and move boldly into the intangible. These brands tap into emotional, irrational connectors deep within the customer to create bonds of loyalty that aren’t easily undone. 

Skeptical? Talk to a die-hard Harley-Davidson owner sometime and try to convince him or her to buy a Suzuki or Yamaha the next time they go shopping for their ride.

The logical and legitimate argument is that they could save a significant chunk of dough by opting for another brand. However, you’ll find that logic and price won’t get you far in this discussion.

Why? Because Harley-Davidson has moved far beyond being merely a product with a price. They have moved into meaning

The Harley brand lives and breathes in the very heart of their loyal customers. Their brand has inspired many to get a brand tattoo of their logo proudly on their body for all the world to see (Now that, my friend, is branding… literally!)

In addition to adoring their skin with a permanent display of their devotion, Harley loyalists routinely wrap themselves head-to-toe in Harley gear as they cruise the highways, and if they happen to see another rider on a Harley, they will acknowledge them with a hand gesture — signifying that they, too, belong.

And it doesn’t stop there. Many will travel hundreds of miles to rally together on a regular basis with others in the Harley family. You see, to them, it’s not just a motorcycle. It’s who they are—it’s their tribe.

Great brands have meaning. They stand for something. They tap into the heart. Harley Davidson is about freedom and true-blue Americana. It has meaning that resonates across socio-economic strata. The bluest of blue everyman working out of his grease-stained garage and the white-collared CEO working from his glitzy, high-rise suite are mysteriously connected by what this great brand stands for. It’s their tribe and they proudly belong, brothers (and sisters!) on wheels.

Does your brand have a following? Does your brand mean something?

At Flying Hippo, we work to help our clients develop brands that inspire and connect. We believe that when your brand truly means something to your customer, it also means something to you…success.



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