Tag Archives: Brand - Page 2

Sitting on your innovation hands

Was riding with a friend just this weekend in his new BMW M3 coupe.

Very sweet car indeed.  Nimble, mid-size chassis.  All alloy 4 liter V8 with 420 horsepower and a six-speed manual (the way it was intended).  Zero to 100 in 4.5 seconds, give or take.  Apart from the bonnet bulge and the dinner-plate brake discs, it’s not too ostentatious.

What makes the M even more sweet is that a standard 3 series coupe (on which the M3 is based) is had with either a 4 or 6 cyl motor and is as quiet and safe as your grandparents need.

As we’re winding up in this exceptional piece of automotive engineering, I couldn’t help but reveal to my friend that this sweet piece of German 4-wheeled fun owed a thank you note to a distant, unlikely relative, the Pontiac GTO.

See, back in the early sixties, the then chief of Pontiac (John Z. DeLorean) hypothesised the concept of putting their big car engines into their mid-size model range, thus creating the muscle car category.  The first muscle car was the 1964 Pontiac GTO and the wider Pontiac brand became a lightning rod for driving excitement.

Pontiac died not long ago, and while there were other business factors that forced this, the brand had been on life support for years before.  It’d lost its value and its distinctive positioning, one that had been accelerated (pun intended) years before by dropping a mountain motor in a mid-size.  This was an innovation that shifted the direction of an entire industry and Pontiac, for a long time owned it.  Unfortunately, they failed to keep it up.  They let the competition catch up and ultimately overtake them.

If you have innovation hands and have shown them, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll ride that wave forever.  You’ve proven you can do it, so keep on doing it and resetting your competitive distinction.

Be detailed about your brand, if nothing else.

Working through a brand launch project with a client very recently, I received some feedback that made me think (not do, which should be an aim of most feedback anyway, but that’s for another post).

We were working through a new website specifically, but it’s in the context of a brand launch.  He told me that I was a detail guy; that I had a proverbial “eye for detail”.   That raised an eyebrow (mine).

See, if there’s one thing I’m not great at it’s detail.  It’s not my strength.  My strength is seeing the broader picture, how things are interacting together to send a single message, and whether that message fits or is right, in the context of a brand.  I’m a visionary thinker, at a strategic level (meta, macro & micro).  I’m a right-brainer, and details are like clowns; they frighten me and when it comes to executing details, that’s best left to others.

When I thought about it though, I came to a realisation.  When talking about creating, building and sustaining strong brands & mind-blowing brand experiences, I AM a detail guy.  Say it loud, say it proud, and so should you be.

After the truth-finding mission, it’s the details that I get concerned with.  The look and feel, sure.  But it’s also the customer processes & experiences, staff (and owner’s) attitude, sensory elements including the graphic design, font styles, copy style (length, depth, how technical or descriptive, fun, serious or somewhere in between).  Every invitation & interaction between you, your market & your customers has to be rooted in your brand, and if getting anal on those things makes me a detail guy, then a detail guy I am.

See, you can have the most fantastic analysis on strategic position ever done, the greatest, most memorable name in the world, a logo that drops jaws and ads that stop traffic.  But it’s the little things that will de-rail (even destroy) your brand if you let them, and take you from memorable to forgotten in a gasp.