Ever hear the “urban myth” about Van Halen’s diva-like “banning” of brown M&Ms from their dressing room?

Well, it wasn’t a myth.

Van Halen really did have a clause in their 1982 tour rider that quite literally demanded:

“We want M&M’s in the backstage (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES)”

This was buried on page 40 in a section under “munchies.”

And what if the concert promoter failed to sort out all the brown M&Ms?

The band could cancel the concert at full pay!

This was not a casual request; they were deadly serious about it.

But this wasn’t done out of rockstar excess or inflated egos.

Rather, it was an attempt to make the invisible visible.

But rather than me droning on about it, why not listen to the inimitable David Lee Roth explain it:

So what does this have to do with business and branding?

Well, have you heard about Goettl Air Conditioning’s red screws?

They look like this:

And the explanation for it is featured in this TV Ad:

They made the invisible — the fact that they care enough to replace your screws and put everything back together correctly — highly visible.

Want another example?

James Sylvestre Enterprises puts hot cast bronze plaques on all their barns, featuring the barn’s building number.

[They’re currently approaching Barn # 1400, by the way]

The plaque looks like this:

Why do they do that?

It makes the invisible — the fact that JSE builds bespoke barns to a higher standard of construction and has been doing so for close to five decades — visible.

Or you could think about why Apple earphones are white.

Or why Christian Louboutin high heels feature red soles.

Now, I’m not saying this is the end-all, be-all when it comes to branding. But it’s certainly worth some thought.

What are you doing to make the invisible visible?

Both for your own operations, but also for and to your customers?