Episode 2


What does it mean to be a brand?

One of the most critical barriers to success is understanding what a brand is and what a brand is NOT. I get this question all the time. Let me tell you what a brand is NOT: A brand is NOT a name, logo, tag-line, package design or the product itself. I call these elements: Window-dressing your brand. A brand is simply an EMOTIONAL IDENTITY that differentiates products, services and people.

As a former marketing executive at global multi-billion dollar consumer products companies like Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Godiva, I successfully crafted emotional identities for some of the world’s most iconic brands. Over the course of 25 years, a frequent challenge I faced was communicating the role a brand played in consumer’s lives…in other words its Core Value. To solve this problem, I developed a process to label that brand’s Core Value using just ‘One Word’. This helps consumers understand what they are actually buying.

During this series, I will select a brand I worked on or studied and share it’s ‘One Word’ Core Value, as well as share valuable topics in the branding arena that will help you Stand-Out Conquer Obstacles and Reach Excellence…in other words, SCORE.

So let’s turn to today’s brand clip… Godiva

Show Notes (click to expand)

I’ve yet to meet a person who spits out a piece of chocolate. However, when there are hundreds of chocolate brands in the market, how can a luxury brand like Godiva truly stand-out?

We can find the answer in the classic story of Lady Godiva.

According to the legend, in the eleventh century, Lady Godiva rode a horse naked through the streets of Coventry on Market Day. Her husband, Leofric, imposed a tax on the citizens. Lady Godiva, aiming to help the citizens, begged him to stop. Leofric said to her, “You’ll have to ride naked through Coventry before I change my ways.” 

So she did; but before beginning her ride to help the citizens of Coventry, Lady Godiva told everyone to stay in their homes in an attempt to preserve her modesty. She then rode naked through the streets draping her long hair over most of her body, allowing only her legs and eyes to remain visible. 

As a side note, I’d like to share another part of the legend that I found surprising as I learned more about Lady Godiva. One man, now known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her instructions and couldn’t help but look out as Lady Godiva rode through Coventry on her horse. As legend has it, this disobedience resulted in his instant blindness. 

I share this story because, if you think about it, Lady Godiva was offering a personal sacrifice to the benefit of the townspeople, so that her husband would not impose this tax. Her GENEROSITY made the townspeople happy, much like a “Gold Box” of Godiva does for a modern-day recipient. Godiva’s Core Value of GENEROSITY resonates so strongly with consumers because it is backed by a powerful story of the key person connected to this brand: Lady Godiva herself.

When people gift Godiva, they are NOT actually gifting a chocolate product. They are gifting the ‘Core Value’ of GENEROSITY.  

I strongly believe that brands win when they let their ‘Core Value’ lead the way. Being able to communicate GENEROSITY simply by handing a “Gold Box” to someone you love and care about, without saying a word, is extremely powerful. 

Allowing Godiva’s ‘Core Value’ to shine through, by sharing Lady Godiva’s story, helped consumers to see this brand in a different light. All it took was ‘One Word’ to demonstrate the value Godiva really offers at its core. 

So ask yourself as you craft your Personal Brand identity: What ‘Core Value’ do I want to give to the world and how can my business venture bring that ‘Core Value’ to life…using just ‘One Word’? Like the legend of Lady Godiva, your story defines your ‘Core Value’. 

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this:

Your product is NOT your brand.
Your brand is your Core Value…AND
You use your product as the vehicle to drive your Core Value.
Godiva uses chocolate to drive their Core Value of GENEROSITY.

The next time you think about GODIVA, remember:


I’m Rich Keller, The CATALYST and see you next time on The CATALYST Effect!

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