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With the passing of Gene Wilder this week, we are reminded of the impact he had on us as the iconic and beloved Candy Man –Willy Wonka. His family told NBC New York that the decision to withhold his health condition from fans and the media was at the direct request of Wilder himself. His nephew quoted saying that, “he simply couldn’t bear the thought of one less smile in the world.” Although Wilder’s death comes as a shock to many, his persona and brand will forever live on in the form of Willy Wonka.

Willy Wonka as a Brand

Why would he do this? Wilder understood his purpose in this role and this understanding led to the iconic brand of Willy Wonka. Wilder was the embodiment of Willy Wonka and he beautifully lived that role his entire life. Wilder knew his character went beyond the movie. He represented innocence, fun, and endless imagination. Willy Wonka inspired us to believe that the world was truly a splendid place to live in and all you had to do was be who you are. Wilder stayed true to the brand of Willy Wonka in every sense; living his life with a lighthearted love for acting and a lively personality that continued throughout his career and life. Maybe that’s why he didn’t want to disclose his condition. Willy Wonka will forever live on in our hearts as The Candy Man; maker of chocolates and dreams that “made the world taste good because he mixes them with love.”

What Do You Stand For?

A company’s brand is like a person’s reputation; an outward and inward appearance that is shaped by a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships, that together account for someone’s decision to choose one product over the other. Gene Wilder became the brand persona of Willy Wonka. He stood out by creating a lasting impression for all those that have seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He knew his purpose as the character Willy Wonka and what it stood for. What you stand for shapes the impact you have on the world. It is the difference between building an ordinary brand or being a brand that is extraordinary.

In today’s overcrowded marketplace, your success is determined by the clarity of your brand, what you stand for and how you communicate your brand and purpose to the world. Wilder truly communicated his the brand persona of Willy Wonka to the world; teaching us to never take ourselves too seriously and always to be dreamers. He will be forever remembered as the lovable Candy Man.

Do you know what you stand for? Take this Brand Traffic Control Assessment and find out.

My dear, we are the music-makers and we are dreamers of dreams.” Willy Wonka

Samantha Barnes

Author Samantha Barnes

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