What you do is more important than what you say
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The Secret Power of Brands
1) Abolish positioning. Think purpose.Don’t try to manufacture a place in the world. Don’t obsess about the competition and differentiating from them. Instead, as with all good design, start with the question ‘why?’. Why do we exist? Why would anybody need us? Why is what we do useful? Why would people pay (in time or money or whatever) for it? Why is it valuable (in all the senses of that word)? In other words, define a sense of purpose – the difference you want to make, socially and commercially.Think, for example, how powerful GE’s sense of purpose – imagination at work – has been in creating growth. Or how Google’s greatest inventions have come from its commitment and encouragement of experimental behaviour among its employees. The high-growth businesses of the future will all be, at heart, purposeful. And purpose is the source of value-creativity.
2) Forget identity. Think experience.Don’t start with name, logo, tagline, sonic identity, or any of these things. Instead, design whole experiences for people – joined-up experiences across all the things you do. Think user interface, in the biggest sense: not the skin around the outside of your organisation, but the layer where you interplay with people. Think Microsoft. Or a really great retailer like John Lewis, consistently the UK’s favourite. Or a fast-growing start-up like India’s IndiGo airline. All understand that growth comes from experiences that are, simply, useful. And experiences aren’t things you create and then transmit to people – they’re things people shape for themselves. Thinking ‘experience, not identity’ means looking at your organisation from the outside in, not the inside out, and seeing people as creators, not consumers.
3) Stop controlling. Think changing.Don’t try to maintain a status quo, don’t police your brand. Instead, keep experimenting, keep connecting up with new people and new organisations. Let things grow from the roots: revolutions rarely start from the top. Don’t try to pin down the future: prototype it. Replace ownership with sharing, and control with creativity. Look at brands like Airbnb and Zopa, the world’s first peer-to-peer money lending service, to consider how you can connect your customers directly to each other and have them create mutual value. Tomorrow’s high-growth businesses will be constantly experimental and completely boundaryless.And when you get all this right, the effect is a (contemporary) brand.This is increasingly how we think and work at Wolff OIins. It’s essential if we’re to do genuinely game-changing work.But it’s a million miles from the corporate identity design world we sprang from.Yet at our heart – more important than ever – is the spirit of design. All great design grows out of a purpose. All great design makes an experience that goes beyond mere product. And today, great design can’t be static: it’s evolving, experimenting, perpetually in beta. Which makes it more exciting than ever to be in the new world of brand.This article was originally published on the LinkedIn Influencer community.
The Secret Power of Brands
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