July 04, 2014

Remembering John Hancock's Bold Branding This Independence Day

Every July 4th, Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of a new nation. Perhaps the most recognizable aspect of the country’s founding document is the signature of John Hancock, who was serving as the president of the Continental Congress at the time.

Hancock’s signature rests smack in the middle of the page, larger by far than any other. A popular but untrue story holds that the Massachusetts statesman wrote his name so large so that King George could read it clearly; in fact, as president, he was simply the first to sign and other delegates simply signed their names in smaller print.  

What is not disputable, however, is the place Hancock’s signature holds in American history. The man’s name is now so closely associated with signing a name that “John Hancock” actually appears as a synonym for signature in many thesauruses. Considering the Founding Father passed away more than 200 years ago, that’s a pretty impressive piece of branding, even if it was unintentional.

Although Hancock may not have purposely signed his name in large print to attract attention, the simple act of signing the Declaration of Independence was quite a gamble itself. If the colonies had fallen to Great Britain instead of the other way around, all the signees would have almost certainly been tried for treason, a crime punishable by death.

Of course, businesses looking for increased market visibility don’t have to take such immense risks to achieve brand recognition—but they do need to follow in Hancock’s footsteps and be big and bold in their content marketing efforts. Using tired strategies repeatedly and refusing to take chances won’t make your product or service more recognizable—there is simply too much competition for consumers’ attention.

At the same time, content creation may not be part of your core competencies. In that case, a content strategy vendor can be an invaluable resource. Outsourcing to such a company takes the pressure off your marketing department and places content creation in the hands of an organization that does nothing but create impactful, engaging material all day, every day.

If your company is looking for a little independence—from constantly worrying about content creation, that is—consider bringing in the reserves. A content strategy vendor can’t help your found your own new nation, but for brand recognition, it’s sure to create fireworks.   

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