What St. Patrick’s Day Can Teach You About Building Your Brand

clover saint patrick's dayOkay, I don’t want to be your dad and turn every fun event into another life lesson. But as you’re maybe still recovering from those St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, could I persuade you to hear me out on some good old-fashioned brand building lessons? Even if you have just five minutes to spare after all the excitement, it will be worth your time. And, I guarantee you that you’ll learn a few things along the way!

Lesson #1: Use Creative Mediums

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year in honor of Ireland’s patron saint of the same name. Saint Patrick himself had a flair for explaining complex ideas through simple visual symbols, the most famous idea being the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity, three-in-one, which he explained with three-leafed shamrocks.

A lot of today’s content marketing is built on the use of creative mediums. In one Forbes article, writer Chris Perry laments the loss of creativity in content marketing. If you read the article, you’ll probably agree with him. However, Perry goes on to point out a number of highly creative and successful content marketing campaigns, such as Nike’s FuelBand, which makes us completely rethink what marketing – and even social media – can look like.

So, take a leaf out of Saint Patrick’s book, and start using creative methods to get your ideas out there!

Lesson #2: Use Your Brand to Write the Rules

St. Patrick’s Day falls is in the Lenten season (and sometimes during Holy Week). However, if you’re a Catholic in Ireland, then you kind of get a free pass. The Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking are lifted on St. Patrick’s Day for Irish Catholics and Irish-American Catholics.

By all accounts (secular and religious), St. Patrick’s Day has an exciting brand image. When was the last time your brand encouraged a total re-writing of the rules?

Lesson #3: Create Your Own Image

The link between wearing green and St. Patrick’s Day was first developed some time in the 17th century, in the same era that St. Patrick’s Day was established as an official feast day. The color and holiday are nearly inextricable. Talk about great branding!

Building your brand requires that you know what you want and you know how to put it into effect. And, let’s be honest, we don’t all have the best grasp on both of those subjects. For an interesting and empowering story about re-branding, I highly recommend checking out Fast Company’s write-up of Care2.

Lesson #4: Allow Some Wiggle Room 

Even if you know what you want and how to put it into effect, there’s always going to be somebody from the outside that wants to change and tweak your brand. In the old days of outbound marketing, companies had a lot more control in defining and controlling their brands.

Today, with inbound/content marketing, a lot of your image is actually created by others. Between social media shares and user-generated content, you simply don’t have the same level of control over how your brand is presented in the public sphere. (After all, you can’t stop someone from posting a complaint about your company on their Facebook page.)

All that to say… you’ve got to be willing to adapt. Did you know that leprechauns have absolutely nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Frankly, how could anyone know? However, the holiday was able to adapt and swoop the gimmick right up. Allowing a little wiggle room in your brand isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

Have some favorite St. Patrick’s Day/brand-building lessons of your own? Share them here!


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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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