Bears, Babies, and Why No One Remembers You

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Bear StatueYesterday, my car started sounding like there was a baby raccoon squealing from inside the engine block. My powers of automotive description are woefully inadequate for Car Talk, so I figured that I better have some professionals look at it.

Do I know a mechanic? No. Do I own the Yellow Pages? No. Does anyone in my extended family have any inkling of what to do with a car besides put it in Drive? No.

Every time we drive by this giant bear statue, my kids go wild with questions. How did they carve the bear? Can we buy a bear for our front lawn? What kind of wood is the bear made from? Can we get a chainsaw?

Can you say “indelible branding?”

The first thought I had, of course, was of that wrench-holding giant bear statue. I looked them up on Google, gave them a call, and my car is now in their hands (or paws.)

This is the new world of commerce. That bear serves the same function as the Etrade Baby. It burns into your mind and plants the seed from which future decisions spring. There are still no great ways to look up extremely local and contextually nuanced information on the web. Since we don’t tend to use the Yellow Pages anymore, what are we left with?

We now rely more on our memories than ever before. The company that wins is the one that makes a memory. Sure, our memory is supplemented by a massive amount of information on the web and communication with our friends online. But what creates the impetus for a search? We research online, but how do we know what to research?

In this case, it was from a bear that made a giant impression on my kids – which then shaped and influenced my behavior as a consumer. doesn’t have an equivalent iconic force – and maybe it needs to. Maybe each company and even each of us needs something very unique. Not a brand, but a memory-maker.

Read more in Personal Branding

Miles is the Founder & President of, a recruiting solutions platform that solves hiring challenges for companies from startups to the Fortune 100.
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