Thursday, October 17, 2013

2. Building a Brand

Every lecture of the Creative Strategist is precious. Last week we had an amazing guest speaker, Scott Bedbury, former marketing executive for Starbucks and Nike, talk about brand building. He touched upon a few principles for creating a successful brand that are covered in his book, A New Brand World, but the aspects he emphasized on and that stuck in my head were customer experience and humanity.

Image via PhotopediaPhotos via Flickr
During his career at Starbucks, Bedbury discovered that the core of the Starbucks brand was not so much about the coffee sold as about the "warm" atmosphere of the place that provided positive customer experience. I liked the quote he used to explain this idea, "We are not in the coffee business serving people. We are in the people business serving coffee." He pointed out that this concept, "it's not about the product; it's about customer experience," is true for every company, and that people are the most important part of any business - if you screw up with your people, you will fail, no matter how great your product is. I totally agree that in order to build a successful brand you have to truly care about your clients and even your employees.

Image via Sporting Judgement

Humanity is another integral element of a brand's prosperity. Some brands appear to be cold and devoid of the ability to connect to their customers emotionally, which in turn negatively affects the company. A brand should remain empathetic, compassionate, and respectful toward its customers at all times to stay valuable, respected, and trusted. Part of Nike's "Just Do It" campaign's success was due to the brand's humanity: it inspired people to be what they wanted to be without pushing them or limiting their opportunities. Bedbury mentioned a video that helps draw a parallel between people and brands. I watched this video a couple months ago, but didn't think of this connection then. Watching this video now (and weeping all throughout) I realize that whether you are a person or a brand, being kind, caring, genuine, and compassionate will always be universally appreciated and respected.

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