What Fonzie taught me about branding.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about image, it’s that the cool guy usually wins. You never saw Fonzie from “Happy Days” trying to decide what jacket to wear or wondering what he was going to say to a girl. Fonzie knew who he was and he owned it. Completely. He was so confident in his image that he never felt the need to walk around and overcompensate by telling everyone how tough he was or how many girls lusted after him. What Fonzie knew as well as anyone was how to manage his brand.

One of my favorite clients to work with at the agency is Lakefront Brewery, not just because they happen to make outstanding beer, but because they understand what Fonzie understood – your brand has to represent you, and you have to live your brand. You will never see a Lakefront product promising to be the lowest calorie-carb-get-you-chicks-and-make-you-popular-with-the-guys-greatest-thing-since-penicillin. No, Lakefront’s message is simple: they make a quality product for people who like beer. That’s it.

So while other brands might inundate you with over-designed packaging, scantily clad women and slick commercial production, Lakefront is just hangin’ out “bein’ Fonzie.” Make no mistake, a great deal of thought goes into everything we do with Lakefront, or any of our clients for that matter. Just as Fonzie wouldn’t suddenly start wearing sweaters and riding a moped, we need to make sure each brand is portraying an image that’s true to who they are. But advertising becomes much easier to create and much more gratifying when what we are saying actually rings true.

So whenever I have any doubt about how I’m approaching a new project, I just ask myself a simple question – WWFD?

*Note: this does not apply to the episode where Fonzie jumped the shark on water skis. That was just awful.