Your Genie-us Brand

Genie-us BrandsTo show you the connection between your Genie and your brand, I took the top few Most Valuable Brands (Forbes, November 2013) and looked at what we know about the people behind them.

Seeing these gigantic mega brands in the context of what their leaders said, or what was said of them, is a powerful reminder of the fact that branding is not about design – it is about leadership!

#1. Apple

Steve Jobs said: “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

#2. Microsoft

Bill Gates was known as an ingenious visionary with an aggressive reputation as a business man. “In this business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. Unless you’re running scared all the time, you’re gone.”

#3. Coca Cola

Assa Griggs Candler was greatly responsible for the establishment of this family-friendly brand. He “saw his personal wealth as a divine trust to be used to the benefit of humanity” (Kemp 2002).

#4. IBM

Thomas J Watson lead much of what is now IBM for 42 years, so I think it is fair to cite him as “father” of the brand. According to IBM, Watson implemented “generous sales incentives, a focus on customer service, an insistence on well-groomed, dark-suited salesmen and an evangelical fervor for instilling company pride and loyalty in every worker.”

#5. Google

Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s company is an interesting combination of their characters. Sergey believes that “knowledge is always good, and certainly always better than ignorance” and, even at an early, Larry showed he was a seeker of knowledge, finding out how everything in his house worked by taking it apart.

What do you want your customers to understand about your business?

When people can see that you are purpose-driven, when they see you focused, centered, completely whole, and utterly authentic in your business ambitions and what you are bringing to market, they recognize that it is not simply a mission to make money.

They understand that behind your brand is a purpose that you truly buy into – and it is magnetic!

Positioning is the task of making sure your brand’s purpose is relevant and clear to your audience. It is the process of managing people’s experience of your brand (including imagery, service experience, product quality and durability, style, and reputation… even your own behavior).

What do you want to come to mind when people see your logo or brand name, hear your brand mentioned in conversation, or see your advertisement?

For an entrepreneur, writing a good and powerful positioning statement ties in to your personal mission and purpose in life. To be able to define that clearly and concisely often involves some soul-searching as you discover or rediscover your sense of meaning and purpose and then translate that into your brand definition. Knowing your Genie helps shortcut this process.

The most powerful brand positioning comes from knowing what your passion in life is, from knowing what motivates you, and crafting your positioning so that it lines up and is congruent with your passion. That way you almost automatically make the purpose of that passion visible through the business you do and how you do it.

Like your business plan, your positioning needs regular review. You do not decide once and for all. Your competitors and your environment changes, technology changes, consumer fads and preferences change. To stay relevant, your positioning needs to adapt – not in substance, but in how you articulate or demonstrate it.

My clients work with me to ensure they are able to stay true to their intent, even as they and the world change. They value making sure they are still energized and inspired by their brands AND that their brands are hooked into what will motivate people to use them.

Book time to talk with me here now


Author: Sue Hines

  1. IlariaIlaria08-12-2014

    Having a good brand which is able to communicate with its target is essential to be successful. Apple is the king of this list!

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-12-2014

      Ilaria, Apple certainly managed to do so many things right! Something to watch and emulate if you can.

  2. I think the key to having a strong brand is authenticity. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing and don’t have a passion for customer service, it will become apparent. Your brand is you so take care of it!

  3. MeredithMeredith08-07-2014

    I agree that your branding needs to come from you passion. It takes so much work and dedication to create a brand, that if you try to make it out of something you don’t believe in, it will never work. These examples were so interesting, in light of their founders’ philosophies.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-08-2014

      Meredith,you said it so well. People are very good at picking up the subtle signals of when something is not authentic. Tying yourself to a brand you don’t whole-heartedly embrace comes across.

  4. Laurie S HurleyLaurie S Hurley08-07-2014

    I want people to see my brand – which is me – as nurturing, knowledgeable, and smart. I am really selling information and a way to put it all together to make sense and if someone does not see as the three words I chose to describe myself – well, I will not have many customers, right?

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-08-2014

      Exactly, Laurie. The connection has to be there for it to work. You do a great job of clearly articulatingthe same message – in different ways over time.

  5. William ButlerWilliam Butler08-07-2014

    Hi Sue,
    It’s interesting. Just yesterday I enjoyed a documentary about Steve Jobs. There was a segment in there where he was interviewed alongside Bill Gates. Their last interview together showed a mutual respect for one another. Behind every brand is a heart for adding value, and I think when brand value is clearly communicated and the public understand it, they appreciate it enough to buy into it.

    Kind Regards,

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-08-2014

      Bill, that was an interesting interview, wasn’t it? Yes, you are right, if that heart for adding value is there, AND the value that is added is what people want, they will buy it.

  6. LenieLenie08-07-2014

    Hi Sue – I think the business having a mission statement and living up to it is extremely important. Thanks for this informative article.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-08-2014

      Lenie, you are right. It is what makes the difference between doing work and having a business!

  7. SUsan CooperSUsan Cooper08-06-2014

    When people see my logo or think of my blog when it is mentioned in conversation I hope they think it’s about life – food, drink and life stories. 🙂

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-06-2014

      Most certainly, Susan, – after all , that is your tagline, isn’t it?

  8. Lisa VoncinoLisa Voncino08-06-2014

    I hope that now and in the future more women are at the table and creating valuable brands.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-06-2014

      Lisa, i believe that when brand owners have an authentic and genuine desire to be of service, good brands will grow!

  9. jacquiegumjacquiegum08-06-2014

    I do think that’s it valuable that customers know that the mission is not only about making money…and a positioning paper or mission statement is a good way to do that. Funny, how the customer rarel;y sees a mission statement in total, yes?

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-06-2014

      Jacquie, I personally don’t think a mission statement always needs to be public facing. Its results, though, should translate into the experience the customer wants. For example, a mission statement may include wanting to be the largest supplier… that isn’t what matters to the customer, though. The customer wants to know the company is committed to long term success.

  10. maxwell iveymaxwell ivey08-06-2014

    Hi Su; loved the post. also thought that I need to try putting some different requests in my call to actions. I’m not sure that the blind blogger actually communicates what i wanted it to. the point is that I share the personal side of running a business as a blind entrepreneur. the goal is to encourage people to hire me as a coach or speaker. the name came from comments on the bloggers helping bloggers group. It does seem that a good number of sighted people are reading the posts and being inspired by them. Hopefully, this is a good sign. thanks so much for sharing, Max

    • Sue HinesSue Hines08-06-2014

      Max, that is a great beginning. If you keep presenting yourself as a speaker, and sharing the results when you do get to speak to groups, the invitations will come.

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