Empire Maker is one of my favorite racing horses, for his name as well as his record. This beautiful thoroughbred had a short but brilliant career– by the age of 4 he was retired to stand at stud for a $100,000 fee. Then he really started living up to his name, siring what became future winners. In fact, he has sired 36 winners to date.

Even horses have reputations. Fashion a winner and everyone will guess the winner will birth more winning. Breeders call it pedigree. Business people call it brand. Brands that stick around, endure and prove sustainable have something very rare: a legacy.

Legacy happens by making moves in the present that will protect the future and give it a fighting chance for success. It involves understanding your brand, understanding what human beings like about your brand and seek from it, and delivering it. Do this consistently, and it will inspire love between your brand and the consumer. You’ll win their hearts every time and spark a relationship that will grow every time it lavished with more attention.

Most race horses I know are treated better than the average business. A breeder nurtures a horse, feeds it well, gives it Fiji water to drink, keeps it happy in a pristine stable, exercises it daily and provides it the best environment that encourages winning. They know if they care for this horse the right way, it will continue to command money even in retirement and a depressed economy.

Brands that suffer neglect dance with danger. Inconsistent messaging will cause confusion and be a turn-off. Lack of brand protection opens the door to possible brand-jacking. Old, stale messaging makes a brand seem antiquated and analog. Any one of these scenarios can also deplete your passion for your own brand, and that’s completely unacceptable.

No matter how busy or tired or overwhelmed you get, never stop caring for your brand. It is that consistent care that will lead to victory after victory and give rise to your legacy. – JD