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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

The Brand of van Gogh

Say the name of the Post-Impressionist painter "Vincent van Gogh" out loud.


If you're like most people, you just pronounced that incorrectly.



And in Dutch, it's not pronounced "Vincent van Go".


It sounds more like Vincent van Houwf.


So if van Gogh was still alive today, and he were to introduce himself to you, that's how he would likely say it.


Here's the irony: if today you pronounced van Go correctly, most people wouldn't know who you were talking about. Most of us have said van Gogh incorrectly for so long, the incorrect version is the only way we would recognize him.


Big banks, telecom companies, insurance firms... massive corporations love to tell us how much they love their customers in their marketing communications.


But you're unlikely to feel loved if you ever need to call their customer service lines.


Your brand is like the pronunciation of van Gogh.


You can define your brand however you like...


... but if that's not what people recognize when they think of you, your definition doesn't matter.


Vincent van Gogh's painting, The Starry Night.

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