Can You Brand A Waterfall?

Can You Brand A Waterfall?

Ah, summer...I just spent four glorious four days hiking in Yosemite and I have the blisters to prove it.  The weather was perfect, the company was spectacular and there’s nothing like “roughing it” at the famed Ahwahnee Hotel. I expected the blisters, thanks to nearly 20 miles of mountain hiking (not that I’m complaining) but I didn’t expect to pick up a great branding story while I was there.  Funny how those stories just seem to find me...

One of the waterfalls we visited was called Bridalveil because, well, it looks like a bride’s veil when the wind blows the water sideways.  You can see the pic I snapped with my iPhone to the left.  But it wasn’t always called Bridalveil, that was the creation of some clever sales and marketing folks who were trying to attract people to the park back in the '30s and thought that the original name - Pohono - and story behind the waterfall  might be too uninviting.

The Ahwahneechee Native Americans who inhabited the valley and mountains had named the fall Pohono, which means Spirit of the Puffing Wind, after an evil spirit who guarded the entrance to Yosemite Valley and would cast a spell on you if you looked directly at the waterfall as you left.  On the more benevolent side, they also believed that if you breathed in the mist from the fall, you’d increase your chances for a good marriage.

Yosemite’s early developers, eager to attract visitors and business in order to preserve this very special corner of the earth, decided a switch to the happier moniker - Bridalveil Fall - would do the job.  Since then, millions of people from around the world have visited Yosemite and made the trek to Bridalveil.  Did the name help? You decide!

Can’t help but ask...what does your brand language convey about you?  What story are you telling about your business?  Is it positive?  Sticky?  Meaningful and memorable?  If you’re not sure, check out my quick feedback exercise See Yourself As Others See You by clicking the link.  Lemme know how it goes!

Half Dome - Can You Brand A Waterfall Image 2

P.S.  There's Half Dome from Glacier Point - amaaaazing!