To 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!
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.”
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).
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.”
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.
Author: Sue Hines