I went on a short trip to a place called Neahtawanta near Traverse City, Michigan last week. It’s a small private enclave of cottages that dates back to the 1890’s. I spent summers there when I was growing up. It holds a lot of fond memories for me.
In “Neah” there is a wooden pavilion on the beach where families gather to cook out, have cocktails and watch the sunset. For over 50 years there was a scrawny evergreen tree that grew at the edge of the water. It had a distinct asymmetrical shape. Like a larger version of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Not your Instagrammable type of a tree.
But it stood out from thousands of other trees in its character, its shape, its sheer tenacity to weather the brutal Michigan winters on the shore of the lake over the decades.
This year, one of the association members decided to design a logo for Neah that she could print and embroider on T-shirts and hats for the other cottage owners and she needed an icon.
This one little tree said “Neah” better than anything else.
When you are creating a brand, you look for the iconic. The memorable. The indelible. The unique.