Category

BRAND STORYTELLING

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Here’s a simple story.

Of a simple conversation.

About simplicity.

Simplicity.

HIM:

That thing you came up with for that client.

It looks so simple.

It looks like you haven’t even thought about it.

ME:

There’s a really simple reason.

Why it looks so simple.

So simple that it looks like I haven’t even thought about it.

It’s because I have.

The End.

There is another world.

If you choose to visit.

And it is amazing.

Accident. 

I visited quite recently.

By accident.

I hadn’t planned to go.

It just happened.

And you could visit too.

You could visit as soon as tomorrow.

3.45am. 

I awoke at 3.45am.

I don’t know why.

I just did.

Izobel was clinging onto my arm.

And it is of course amazing when your children do that.

But after a few moments I got up.

And that’s when I discovered it.

Another world.

Just Me.

Silent.

Dark.

Cool.

Slow.

I broke the silence with the click…hiss of a kettle.

The rustle of some packaging or other.

And the snap-snap of the toaster.

Then.

It was silent again.

With heavy butter melting on sourdough toast.

With a huge mug of tea and its curling steam tail.

With the opportunity to think.

Without my computer.

Without my phone.

Just me.

Another World.

There is another world.

If you choose to visit.

And it is amazing.

I still find it so, so flattering.

When anybody.

Anytime.

Buys anything from any brand I’ve ever built.

Humbling.

The feeling I had with that very last sale.

Just a moment ago.

It’s the exact same feeling I had with the very first sale.

Humbling.

I help six business a year.

As a brand consultant.

I like working with businesses I like.

Businesses that are focussed on making change that they.

And I.

Believe in.

And about six businesses each year does me just fine.

Brand Consultant.

I’m very good at being a brand consultant, actually.

I’ve been helping businesses for 25 years.

I’ve built ten meaningful brands of my own.

I’ve worked with some of the greatest brand brains around.

But that doesn’t mean I’m great for everyone, of course.

Because just like there’s more than one way for a football team to win a football match.

There’s more than one way for a business leader to win at business.

Taking a brand-driven approach is just one way.

And narrower still.

Taking my brand-driven approach is different again.

Brand Consultants and Football Teams. 

I’ll always tell you what I think you should do.

And why.

But whether you do it or not.

And exactly how you do it.

That’s up to you.

Klopp’s Liverpool.

Fergusson’s Manchester United.

Mourinho’s Chelsea.

They all played football.

They all won the Premiership.

But they all won it in their own way.

Bravely.

The way that I choose to build brand is clear.

In a word, it’s:

Bravely.

Because braver brands are much more likely to be noticed.

They are much more likely to be remembered.

And they are much more likely to be chosen.

Boring, Boring Business.

Business is largely boring, to me.

Businesses colour their logos in the same way as the businesses around them.

Businesses name themselves in the same way as the businesses around them.

Businesses speak in the same way as the businesses around them.

Then they wonder why they’re neither noticed.

Remembered.

Or chosen.

Hmmm.

Building Braver Brands.

Of course, if you are going to be different.

(And you should be different.

That’s not negotiable).

You need to know how to be different.

And that’s where I come in.

But just like there’s more than one way for a football team to win a football match.

There’s more than one way for a business leader to win at business.

Taking a brand-driven approach is just one way.

And narrower still.

Taking my brand-driven approach is different again.

Anyhow.

Whether you work with me or just listen to me and take my advice.

Be braver.

Build a braver brand.

Plan from tomorrow.

And start soon.

You’ll be glad you did.

A few weeks ago.

I wrote  this story.

Called, ‘Dreaming of ASDA’.

Give it a click for a reminder:

DREAMING OF ASDA.

It’s a nice little story about my 4 year old daughter Izobel.

And the hero of the story.

Was ASDA.

ASDA.

I posted the original story on Linkedin.

Initially, 5,000 people had a read.

And one nice chap suggested tagging ASDA in the story.

To see if they were listening.

To see if they’d do something nice for Izobel.

Because Izobel had said something nice about them.

Lovely Idea.

What a lovely idea!

A chance for ASDA to listen.

A chance for Izobel to get a nice thing.

A chance for 5,000 to 10,000 people to read about ASDA listening to an ASDA customer.

A chance for 5,000 to 10,000 people to read about ASDA doing a nice thing for Izobel.

A 4 year old ASDA customer.

What a lovely idea!

Huge.

ASDA is huge.

Their annual sales are about 22 billion pounds.

The supermarket category in the UK is huge.

Annual sales for the category are about 200 billion pounds.

And it’s so competitive!

Small margins.

Gigantic volume.

Little things can make a big difference.

I don’t envy all of that hard work.

But I still don’t think it’s an excuse for brands not to listen.

Listen.

This is not about Izobel.

It’s about listening.

And a reminder to all brands.

Big and small.

That of course communication and connection is important.

Of course advertising and strategising is important.

But it’s not as important as listening.

Because ASDA not taking the time to listen to the story if one little girl.

Means that instead of (now about) 20,000 people reading about how ASDA have a great ear for their customers.

Instead of that.

About 20,000 people are reading about how they don’t.

There are very many things that you really should know in business.

If you’re in the business of running a business.

And one of the most important things that you really should know.

Is what you really shouldn’t bother trying to know.

Pay Someone. 

I am neither patient enough.

Nor accurate enough.

To do my own books and accounts.

So I pay someone to do it.

And if I tried to do plumbing or electrical things.

I would kill me.

Or the nearest person to me.

Or both of us.

So.

Again.

I pay someone to do it.

Dangerous. 

It is fucking dangerous for me to poke around with blue and brown wires.

But is just as dangerous.

Albeit a different kind of dangerous.

For me to bugger about with balancing books.

Because I’d be neglecting what I really should be doing.

And fucking up my records at the same time.

Know. 

Think about what you’re best at.

And have the intelligence to do that.

Then think about what you’re shit at.

And have the intelligence not to do that.

There are very many things that you really should know in business.

If you’re in the business of running a business.

And one of the most important things that you really should know.

Is what you really shouldn’t bother trying to know.

I bought my Rolex for two reasons.

First.

To see what it felt like to own a Rolex.

Second.

To see what it felt like.

To me.

For other people to think I owned a Rolex.

And it delivered brilliantly.

In the exact way I wanted it to.

It worked!

On both counts.

So I don’t regret for a second investing the money.

In fact.

It was the best £40 I ever spent.

It Worked!

When I say it worked.

I don’t mean it actually worked.

My Rolex told the time correctly for a week or so.

And even though that’s not what the nice man on the street in Hong Kong suggested would happen.

I didn’t mind.

My Rolex.

Two things.

I may buy an actual Rolex one day.

As finances allow.

Because I did like the way it felt.

And with regards to how it felt.

To me.

For other people to know I owned a Rolex.

I discovered that I couldn’t care less.

Brand.

There’s a brand lesson in there too.

For my brands.

And for yours.

And here it is.

Great brands know what they are for.

So have a think.

What’s your brand for?

Because if you imagine.

Even for a second.

That a Rolex is for telling the time.

(Even if it’s a real one).

You’re way off.

One of the traps I fell into in 2020.

Was sometimes worrying if I was doing what I was doing.

Better than they were doing what they were doing.

Trap.

It’s a trap.

Because this kind of comparison is not real.

Because whilst I know my business.

I don’t know their business.

I don’t know what financial resources they have available.

I don’t know how big their team is.

I don’t know how much time they are putting into doing it.

I don’t know if they are telling me the whole story.

I don’t know if they are selling any.

I don’t know if they are making any money.

I don’t know if their smile is real.

I don’t know anything about them apart from what they allow me to know.

I don’t really know them at all.

So there is little point in worrying if what I am doing.

Is better than what they are doing.

Because whilst I know all there is to know about my business.

I don’t know all there is to know about theirs.

Just like.

(As well I know).

They really don’t know all there is to know about mine .

Comparing. 

Comparing.

It’s not only not real.

It’s a trap.