Why Great Brands Succeed

“Great brands know how to influence every day business. Successful brands consider the feelings and associations that goes along with it.”

Who do you think of when you hear someone say a ‘great brand?’ Apple? Virgin? The most widely accepted brands seem to be the greatest, right? Clearly, that is wrong.

Great brands do many things that good brands simply don’t. Cultivate a corporate culture, build emotional connections with customers, say no to protect their ideology and brand. If a brand is guiding compass for business growth and success, what’s the map? Where’s your starting point? These questions are tackled in What Great Brands Do and they will change the way you think about your business and brand.

The book goes into detail on the seven key aspects of a ‘great brand,’ which I won’t list here — read it! The key takeaway from this book though, is great brands do a whole lot more than simply produce and sell a product.

Brands build a network of people that stretches from the customer to the product.

Each person in that network has a duty to develop a relationship (in some way) with the customer and their life. This connection is felt in every aspect of a great brand’s business model.

How can a shoe be emotional?

An example that stuck with me from the book is Nike and their ‘Just Do It’ slogan. I never realized it, but ‘Just Do It’ isn’t about sneakers. It’s not about shoes at all. It’s about values and a brand ethos. Their commercials certainly showed a shoe, but the featured athletes spoke of their feelings and dreams and what it felt like to push themselves beyond their daily lives. That’s what Nike is, and it surely packs a bigger punch than just a shoe.

Another example that I loved was from Krispy Kreme Donuts. Great donut, bad business model = mediocre brand. I think of Krispy Kreme as fluffy guilty pleasures in a green box. Sure they are unhealthy but damn delicious and at a decently high price point, so it felt like a real treat when I bought one. The problem was, Krispy Kreme started selling in gas stations. Suddenly Krispy Kreme donuts were next to cheap candy and slurpees. Sales dropped to record lows for Krispy Kreme, simply because people didn’t associate their fluffy friends with cheap candy and pumping gas. They wanted a decadent, semi-expensive treat! This is a prime example of a great brand that pursued short term profits over their brand value, and long term growth.

If you read this book (or check it out on Blinkist), use their examples to look at your own company to answer questions like: who supports our brand values in our company? What aspects of our business model stays in line with our brand values? Highlighting HOW your brand fits into your customer’s life will define WHAT emotions and values your brand should re-enforce.