Anybody can forget a necessary thing.
But nobody ever had any swelling sentiments about an umbrella; it is a convenience, like a door scraper. An umbrella is a necessary evil. A walking-stick is a quite unnecessary good. This, I fancy, is the real explanation of the perpetual losing of umbrellas; one does not hear of people losing walking sticks. For a walking-stick is a pleasure, a piece of real personal property; it is missed even when it is not needed. When my right hand forgets its stick may it forget its cunning. But anybody may forget an umbrella, as anybody might forget a shed that he has stood up in out of the rain. Anybody can forget a necessary thing.
[G.K. Chesterton in What’s Wrong with the World.]
We spend time with our clients talking about the difference between operational accuracy (umbrellas) and brand personality (walking-sticks).
There are certain operational necessities that every company must exercise, but they are not worth advertising. These umbrellas will not make them memorable or distinct or even safe. They are givens.
On the other hand, every brand should have a personality. This is what makes a brand stand out – its “ceremonial swagger.” Without this “piece of real personal property” you will be just like everyone else. Find what makes your brand unique and hold on to it.
You need both umbrellas and walking-sticks, but without a walking-stick a brand is forgettable. “Anybody can forget a necessary thing.”