Updated: Jan 4, 2019
It’s not easy to stand out in a crowd. I should know. I started my career over 25 years ago as an eager Art Director pounding the pavement trying to be seen amongst the countries’ top designers and marketing go-getters. I eagerly sought out advice and listened. I risked vulnerability via portfolio critiques and unconventional self promos. Above it all – I stayed true to myself and developed three brand principles that were successfully applied to dozens of influential, and national brands. The principles are as follows;
1. Be authentic
We live in a world full of skepticism. We're surrounded by persuasive advertising pretending not to be advertising – see ‘social media.’ Schools build curriculum to teach students how to determine online truths. Our society and marketing innately comes with a level of skepticism.
The absolute most effective and simplest way to overcome skepticism is by being authentic. There are no tangled webs to weave, no PR messes to clean up, and most importantly there are positive brand repercussions.
Are you familiar with that that saying “You be you?” It resonates because it’s powerful and it speaks to the truth. Stay true to your brand, your values and your passion and DO NOT waver. Not for money, exposure, or a great deal. Your customers will in turn reward you with loyalty and your brand perception will have integrity. You can't buy that that kind of long-term value with expensive campaigns.
2. Take risks
This is a tough one. I totally get it. I left my job in February with a great company, amazing people, and all the benefits one could ever ask for. However, I knew it was the best time to take a shot at entrepreneurship. It wasn't easy, but risk isn't supposed to be and sometimes the hardest times are when the ‘what if’ scenarios pop up.
So here’s a trick – how about turning the negative ‘what if’ mental game on it’s head? For example: What if, your new marketing strategy gets a feature article in Forbes? What if your unconventional campaign goes viral? What if your new branding wins a global award?
Indulge and make your ‘what if’s’ optimistic and incredible. Watch how much easier it is to take a risk. The anxiety will turn to pure excitement and motivation.
Hello? Are you still here? Great, you’re listening. Now go ask someone to tell you their story and listen up. There are insightful nuggets from every single human you meet. Reaching out to your network, your target audience, and even your neighbour can result in endless diversified stories and opinions to learn from. Think of it as a grass roots focus group and don't forget to evaluate carefully.
Do the math
Be authentic + Take risks + Listen = A brand that stands out
What successful principals have you used to help develop breakthrough brands? Send me a note I would love to hear about them!