BRAND+Building a next generation brandDigital Shoreditch email@example.com/in/verityevans
Hi my name is Verity EvansIm a strategist and partner at a brand agency called venturethreeIm going to spend the next 10 minutes talking to you about how the business of building brands has changed and why thats a good thing.
Heres a snapshot of the brands we work with at venturethree. We do everything from partnering with startups like Zume, GoGoBot and Transferwise to launch new brands or help their brands come of age. Through to working with major players like Sky, King and Penguin to make their brands relevant, meaningful and inspiring to millions of people. Im going to share some of the principles weve learnt about making brands that connect with people and spark progress for the world.
STAND FOR SOMETHINGTHAT MATTERSTO PEOPLE
So first of all, you need to stand for something that really matters to people. When I started working in branding years ago, it was pretty standard issue for companies to talk about what they wanted to achieve in the world in a purely results-driven way. We want to be number one in entertainment. Or we want to be the worlds premier consumer products company. Now people are demanding more. And companies that put a strong purpose at their heart are winning. Brands that stand for something that matters to people have the potential to inspire everyone they touch, from the people who buy them, to the colleagues who run them, to the shareholders who invest in them. For anyone building a brand today, your purpose should transcend your growth targets, your proposition and your user experience. It should be big enough to inspire positive change in every sphere.
This wouldnt be a brand presentation without a shout out to Nike. So here it is. Nikes purpose is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. And they say if you have a body, you are an athlete. This vision took them into technology. Into the public runs that turn our cities into training grounds. Into personalised products. It makes Nike more than just a shoe company. And inspires a million little contributions to improve peoples lives through sport. It will inspire many more innovations in the future.
Whole foods dont have one ambition but four. Four big ambitions they could never possibly hope to achieve by themselves. These ideas have a profound impact on the way Whole Foods sources its products and conducts its business. And they give consumers strong reasons to believe in the brand, to love it and to keep coming back.
It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build
the closest thing to teleportation
And your brand purpose doesnt have to be a lofty ideal. When Periscope launched the team said they wanted to create something that was as close to teleportation as possible. If they really hold this to their hearts, its easy to see how Periscopes ambition could push the company into new innovations as technology opens up new possibilities. 3D TV, holograms, real teleportation?
MAKE PRINCIPLES NOT RULES
Make principles not rules. In the past, when a team like mine reinvented a major multinational brand, wed go through an intense period of creative invention culminating in a new expression for the brand. Then the boring part would begin. All that creativity would be poured into an epic 200-page manual, outlining every way in which the brand could be used. The goal was ultimate consistency across the widest array of touchpoints. Ultimate control over the brand image for the brand owner. Today, its just not enough. Brands have to be responsive and relevant in fast-moving situations that are anything but textbook. Responding to situations that havent been imagined and documented by the team that wrote the guidelines. Were moving from the age of control where visual consistency was king to the age of meaning, where its more important for brands to deliver meaningful and joined-up experiences across the entire customer journey.
INSPIRING NOT POLICINGENABLING AND EMPOWERINGBOTTOM UP, NOT TOP-DOWN
In this new world a purpose that unites everyone in an organization behind a shared goal matters. So do shared principles that shape everyones way of working. They show people the right thing to do in the absence of a clear guideline or precedent. And they empower everyone to make good decisions.
A new management system for a rapidly changing world.Gets rid of bosses & gives individuals more autonomy to make an impact.
Aligns each person to the purpose of the organisation.
Some forward-thinking companies are going even further and implementing alternative management systems like Holocracy. Instead of concentrating power at the top it empowers groups of colleagues to act. And in this absence of top-down hierarchy, purpose becomes the ultimate driver that sets the tone for all decision-making. Here purpose couldnt be more critical.
300+ organisations, including...
Zappos and Medium are among the highest profile brands to be adopting this exciting new approach and there are hundreds more across the world.
MAKE BRAND YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM
But you dont have to go as far as adopting Holocracy to do this. You could simply do this. Make brand your operating system, not a sub-set of your marketing department. Make brand something everyone can own, across every business function.
Purpose + Principles
People & culture Marketing & communications
Products & services Customer experience
Heres how you do it. Your purpose sets the direction. Your principles shape your culture and ways of working. Together they provide a framework for the way you do business. An engine that powers focus, innovation, growth and creativity. You hire people who share the same values. You develop new products and services and a joined-up customer experience that delivers on the purpose at every touchpoint. And you create outstanding communications to share it all with the world.
EVERYTHING ADDS UP TO A BIGGER IDEA OF WHO YOU ARE
AND WHAT YOU WANT TO DO FOR THE WORLD
This way everything adds up to a bigger idea of who you are and what you want to achieve in the world.
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS
But you cant just pay lip service to it. You have to put your money where your mouth is. Be prepared to take risks and reinvent the way things are done. If your business model is at odds with what you claim to stand for, people will smoke you out.
This is probably the most obvious recent example I can think of, of a company publicly claiming something thats just not true and is not going to be true in the future.
3.2 million barrels of oil produced per day
Our goal is to be a focused oil and gas company...
14 years after the Beyond petroleum rebrand, BP was producing 3.2 million barrels of oil a day, with a focus on oil as a key part of its energy mix. At the time of the rebrand, they got criticism from journalists and environmental groups. But nothing like the social media flaming they would have got today. That is meted out to other brands for much smaller misdemeanours.
Tidal is a good example of this. It launched with a toe-curling and hyperbolic 20 minute press conference. Alisha Keys quoted Niezche and promised us a brave new era. It sounded like something truly revolutionary was coming next.
Madonna cocked her leg on a table as fellow artists signed a declaration of freedom. They promised a new experience for music fans. They promised a better livelihood for artists. But they didnt offer anything big to back it up.
Even worse, Tidal used the kind of marketing tactics charity campaigns use. With the hashtag #tidalforall completely at odds with a subscription-only service thats more expensive than its rivals.
So everyone concluded that its just about making its millionaire artist owners even richer. If Tidal is really about a new way, they should have delivered a new model. Using unknown artists to launch the service. Creating a space for unsigned acts to publish their music and own 100% of the royalties. Offering a freemium service to open this new music up to the widest possible fan base. Since launch, theyve added new features for unsigned artists and clarified that artists earn 25% more royalties with Tidal.
US app store download chart, April 15
No. 3 PandoraNo. 4 Spotify
Out of top 700 Tidal
But the world has moved on, no-ones listening and the results speak for themselves. Tidal has just crashed out of the top 700 US app store downloads. Their business model and their product simply didnt match up to their grandiose promise.
PROVE IT WITH YOUR ACTIONS
And its not just about the big stuff. You have to prove it with your actions across every step of the customer journey. Every interaction a customer has with your brand is an opportunity to demonstrate what you really stand for. To prove it with your actions. And lots of small things can add up to a really big deal.
TRANSFORMATIVE IDEAS + TRANSFORMATIVE ACTIONS
Transformative ideas backed up by transformative actions is where things begin to get really interesting.
Uber talks about evolving the way the world moves. And bringing people and cities closer.
Its not one big thing but several small but