A 10-Point Checklist for Brands Ready for Change

by David Brier

“The greatest companies in the world don’t sell. They brand.” Gary Vaynerchuk

Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce tweets some awesome lists and facts for brands, businesses, and entrepreneurs.

A recent list Vala tweeted (listing out the top 10 qualities every great team has) intrigued me as it equally listed out many of the qualities one finds in the world’s great brands.

What’s Good for Teams is Great for Brands

Here it is below with some modifications from my experience:

  1. Storyteller
  2. Designer
  3. Builder
  4. Magician
  5. Stabilizer
  6. Rebel
  7. Explorer
  8. Dreamer
  9. Mentor
  10. Ambassador

1. Storytelling

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” J.K. Rowling

Never confuse “storytelling” with “facts and figures.” Stories are the glue any great brand uses to bridge their brand to their customer.

Stories are human.

Facts and figures are not.

2. Designing

“Design is so critical it should be on the agenda of every meeting in every single department.” Tom Peters

Design is the social lubricant that makes a creation acceptable to those coming in first contact with what you’ve created.

Ignore design, and you shortchange your idea from its potential, leaving growth and (loose) change on the table.

3. Building

“If you don’t educate yourself, you’ll never get out of the starting block because you’ll spend all your money making foolish decisions.” Daymond John

Every brand is either building itself up or tearing itself down from the inside from lack of infrastructure, lack of discipline, or lack of culture.

I see a lot of brands and entrepreneurs that keep pushing forward without looking over their shoulder at what’s left in their wake. You’ve got to build up the right pieces so your brand can spread its wings ever wider without losing its balance.

The point is to never sloppily “keep creating” without at the same time building and strengthening the foundation upon which your brand is built.

4. Magicification

Yes, I made up that word.

It’s simple really. Add some magic to everything you do. It’s going that extra mile, doing that one more additional thing your customer didn’t ask for.

You do enough of those consistently and you’re seen as some sort of special wizard or Jedi.

Done sporadically, and you’re seen as “lucky” or “having moments of brilliance.” That leaves you the effect of these “moments” rather than the cause of being someone who actually cares enough to look in the first place.

5. Stabilizing

“Talent without effort is wasted talent. And while effort is the one thing you can control in your life, applying that effort intelligently is next on the list.” Mark Cuban

You and your brand can either be a stabilizing influence or an unstabilizing one. Do what you need to to ensure it provides stability in place of some compromise.

6. Rebelling (or Defending)

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” ~ Jim Morrison, The Doors

Every brand needs to come to grips with what it really is.

Too many brands try to “craft a story others will love” rather than dig deep into what it really is. I wrote about launching a brand revolution a while ago and those points still hold true. They included:

  1. Standing for something bigger than yourself
  2. Defining your enemy.
  3. Not being about dreams, but being about achievement.

7. Exploring

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” Stephen Hawking

Every brand needs to explore. Continuously.

The opposite of this exploring is complacency.

Don’t get overly content with your brand or its achievements.

Steve Jobs would, once one of Apple’s great products was ready for release, ask “What’s version 2, 3 and 4 going to be?”

He was ready to make his own creation obsolete knowing nothing stands still in business or living.

Know this and you’ll be ahead of your competition every time.

8. Dreaming

“Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.” Tupac Shakur

Dreams are your guidepost. Do you want to see a dead brand? Find one that’s forfeited its dreams.

Remember ever seeing a young adult who’s given up on their dreams or ambitions for attaining something they’re yearning for? What did you see?

Someone who’s lost. Someone who has given up, who has stopped attacking life and molding it in the shape of their greatest aspirations.

9. Mentoring

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” Steven Spielberg

It’s all about giving back, something I covered in detail in this post and video on “the fork in the road.”

Each of us can only grow so big without eventually, taking what we’ve learned and then given back to the world. This applies as much to a brand as it does to a person.

10. Ambassadoring (or Recruiting)

“Before the TRUTH can set you free, you must first recognize which LIES are holding you hostage.” Prince Ea

For a team or a brand to expand, it has to export its greatness to the world. Part of that is welcoming others aboard your ship of awesomeness that you’ve built.

That’s where recruiting (or “ambassadoring”) comes in.

It’s this outward look that makes the difference in your brand and its impact.

Conclusion (How Brands Put This to Use)

Are you doing these 10 things?

How aggressively are you implementing each of them?

Do you want to become an amazing brand that adds value and changes the lives of those you reach?

Is your brand ready to think and act bigger and bolder to effect the change you seek?

You’ve got this.


Originally published at www.risingabovethenoise.com on October 21, 2017.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 290,182+ people.

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