This is going to be one of those life stories that turn into a business lesson.

When I was in seventh grade my Mom and Dad moved the family from the city of Houston out to the country. Talk about a culture shock. Concrete driveways to dirt roads, a store on every corner to driving 30 minutes to rent a movie, my brother and I in Dockers and penny loafers to everyone else to wearing jeans and yes overalls. We never thought we would learn how to live side by side with the country natives. It ended up not being so bad but talk about a sticking out like a sore thumb.

Anyways, the one thing that stood out to me at the time was how instantly popular we became at our new school. It seemed like everyone wanted to be our friend even though they had no clue as to who we really were. They didn’t know what kind of sports we were in to or which group we’d end up sitting with at lunch. All they knew was that there were these two news guys that stood out and seem to offer something different than their current friends. I’m serious these kids were willing to give us their child hood friends to hang out with us. All because we were “the new kids on the block.” It seemed as though we had all the answers and could have our choice of friends.

Well, you know, the business world is much of the same way. I have worked in a number of different industries over the years and one thing always seems to amaze me. Anytime a new company starts up the right way with a good brand and a strong, aggressive marketing plan they get a lot of attention and ultimately someone else’s market share. You’ll see clients leave a long time vendor for a new vendor that seems different, unique and up to date. Sometimes this happens regardless of how good the new product or service really is.

The point I’m trying to make here is that brand image is important. Now you don’t have to be a brand new company to have a fresh image and start getting attention all over again. Had someone in that school of ours start dressing, and talking different then they would have gotten just as much attention as my brother and I did. And anytime an older company properly freshens up their brand image and message, there is a rejuvenation of their image within their market place. I know this is a very simple analogy but I think the lesson hits home for a lot of companies.

If you want to be an interesting company in your market place…. you have to be interesting. That means aggressively staying in front of your audience and having a fresh look, even if you’ve been in business for 30 years. Lets face it, if you don’t keep your brand current and exciting, the new kid on the block just might.