Thursday, November 20, 2014

Creating a new brand? Start with what it stands for

Open Business: File under business strategy...
Brands are what people say they are. The classic example here is Kelloggs CornFlakes; developed and conceived as a sexual suppresent, the way people used it (as a breakfast cereal) changed how they talked about it and, after that initial hic-cup, how it was branded.

If you want them to agree with what you think your brand is about you have to behave in a way consistent with that position - and that is driven by purpose. Know your purpose and the rest becomes easy. (Chapter One of The 10 Principles of Open Business is dedicated to exactly this).

This sometimes gets lost in the life of a brand. But when one is starting out it has to be the very start point. And that's what last night's broadcast of BBC1's The Apprentice entirely missed.

To create a brand from scratch FIRST you must decide what it is for; what is its purpose - what does it stand for?

Neither of the teams last night started there - and that's why they struggled to align a name, a label, a billboard and a TV ad in any kind of coherent way. This was something Lord Sugar didn't bother pointing out (banging on about product first as if had one of the teams  created something that tasted really nice it would have done its own branding and sold itself to the room of ad execs).

It's simple really:
1. Choose purpose: (eg Helps you tackle life's adventures head on)
2. Come up with a name to reflect that: (eg Red Bull)
3. Give it a taste and colour to reflect that (Caffeine boosted, natural zingy stuff, you get the idea)
4. Do things that reflect the message (jump from balloons in space)
5. Now story board that TV ad...

There are lessons in this for anyone tackling something new - whether it be products and services or developing a brand. I only wish 'business TV' like The Apprentice would do a better job of keeping up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Communication: The art of sharing with others

Communication. The act of communion with another soul. Isn't it?

Yes, I know there are other definitions. But this is the oldest. It precedes the broadcast age.

Interesting too that the term communication comes from the Latin "Communicare" which literally means, To Share. (I'd be fascinated to learn the root in other languages via your comments, please)

I'm interested because I'm wondering if communication in business needs calling out as the 'sharing with others' it actually is rather than the 'broadcasting a pov to others' it regularly defaults to.

Communication as a term has been so misused and abused by an industry bent on getting its message into your brain (doing something to you, rather than with you) that the true meaning has been lost to the point where we have to use terms such as  'collaboration' to define what we mean by genuine communication.

When we connect, we lower the cost of action. This is because we talk to each other and talking to each other enables us to share in the act of making new things.

Those things are new products, new services, new ideas or new processes. Each is an output of what we call collaboration. But perhaps once we get over and out of our broadcast habits we'll be able to call it plain and simple communication once again.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?