Branding Lessons from Genghis Khan, the Mongolian Marketer

What can a growing business learn about branding from Genghis Khan? He united and ruled Mongolia. Genghis is known as a strong ruler and conqueror. Some might call him cruel and vicious. But he is remembered as a strong, memorable and effective leader.

Genghis Khan provides some powerful lessons for business on branding.

Consider this branding challenge. Many countries, geographic regions and cultures are looking for creative ways to develop their tourism industry. How can developing countries develop their brand?

What can you do if you are Mongolia, a country that suffered almost 70 years of Soviet communism? (The Russians hated the Mongols.)

Play word association with the word "Mongolia" and you might reply with "Mongols" which would lead you to "Genghis Khan"; then you might run out of words.

This is the challenge that Mongolia was facing.


They are emerging into capitalist markets. They want to sell their products and attract tourists. What would you do? You leverage the greatest resource you have - the name of the most famous Mongol, Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan is more famous than the Beatles, and according to John Lennon you know how famous they were.

Most people don't know the capital city of Mongolia, (Ulan Bator), but you do know the name of the international airport, university and vodka - they are all named Genghis Khan. And of course there are the many restaurants around the world bearing that name.

What is the marketing appeal of the Genghis Khan name? It has worldwide recognition, it is powerful, and it's visually and emotionally stimulating. One more bonus - there are zero endorsement fees. No one owns the name.

Why else is Genghis Khan a powerful brand? He was a powerful leader. There is a mystique and exotic image to his name and legend. Say the name and you probably see a striking image of a warrior or ruler in your mind. That's what a good brand should do - evoke a feeling.

So instead of spending millions for a Tiger Woods, Donald Trump or Lance Armstrong to endorse your product why not search through the history books for some long dead adventurer, conqueror or poet to attach to your brand?

Genghis Khan lived so long ago that no one alive today knew him. At best they remember the stories and legends - and legends make for powerful marketing. In fact you want your brand to become a legend. Who can you tap for your celebrity spokesperson? Think King Arthur, Christopher Columbus or Emperor Napoleon.

Looking for a powerful brand or spokesperson for your marketing campaign? Search the history books for long dead legendary leaders and make your brand a legend.


© George Torok is co-author of the bestseller, Secrets of Power Marketing: Promote Brand You. Get a free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" when you register for the free marketing tips at http://www.PowerMarketing.ca To arrange for an engaging marketing presentation or executive briefing visit http://www.Torok.com For media interviews call 905-335-1997