You are the Campbell brand

Gerald Bronsink shoveling snow

Above: Fifty-nine-year-old Gerald Bronsink shoveling snow from the roof of Byron Center Christian School after the blizzard of 1978 dumped a record 18.4 inches in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Meet Gerald Bronsink. He’s the little dot shoveling more than a foot and a half of snow from the roof in the picture above. He didn’t have a marketing degree. He didn’t read books on branding. He didn’t follow best practices and trends.

But like most of you, he was his school’s brand — a daily reminder to the students and visitors of what made Byron Center Christian School special.

Gerald was a WWII ranger, father of eight, a school janitor and — most importantly — grandpa to 47 other kids including me. His community described him as kind, genuine and hard working. After his death, people came out of the woodwork to talk about the lasting impact he made on their lives.

He was involved so much in day-to-day operations, a kindergarten student once asked her mother whether the principal or the janitor was the most important person at the school.


So what does this have to do with you? Me? Campbell?

Your title or position carries little weight on your impact on the brand. It’s your attitude and daily interactions that have a significant influence on Campbell’s reputation — may be even larger than the guy getting paid to talk about the brand. How you communicate with our students, parents, donors, and friends is a direct reflection of Campbell’s brand.

I would be surprised if Gerald Bronsink knew the term “brand.” I’m also pretty sure if I used words like “authentic, grounded, lively, thoughtful and approachable” to describe our brand personality he would probably say, “Isn’t that how you should treat everyone?”