In reducing the role of branding to a single aim – growth – Byron Sharp and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute have simultaneously established the biggest strength and the greatest weakness of their ‘scientific’ approach: the single-minded pursuit of growth might be an appealing message for CMOs grasping for ‘scientific’ credibility; but it also absolves them of responsibility for important activities that should be a part of their job description, such as ensuring their businesses anticipate and respond to important changes in society, including the continuing struggles against systemic racism, climate change and social inequality.
Once in a while, someone interested in becoming a brand strategist (or becoming a better brand strategist) asks me what they should read. Here’s a list (of sorts).
This is what really great brands do: they have a point to make and then find the most effective ways to make that point.
In theory, brand positioning can be an immensely useful tool for creating growth. But in practice, it is often a complete waste of time, money and effort.
Intentions matter because they initiate outcomes.
Not everything that can be counted counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.
It’s difficult to find brands with clearly aligned positioning, strategy and architecture, which is why there are so few truly great brands.
In the economy of mistrust, businesses create profit by outsourcing the policing of behaviour to their online communities: they establish spaces in which people are encouraged to act as judge, jury and executioner.
If strategy is about substance, then culture is about style – and style matters every bit as much as substance.
Great brands don’t just deliver on expectations; they play with those expectations. They inspire us to see more of life’s infinite possibilities.
What do milk floats and glossy leggings have in common?
The past is something you learn from, but not something your brand needs to be wedded to.
Milton Glaser had the ability to penetrate through the layers of bullshit that often come with a job that balances the commercial with the creative. He thought seriously and deeply about this balance. Here are ten things I’ve taken away.
We’re learning to love contactless and mobile forms of payment, but we’re a long way from digital banking nirvana.
A compelling charity brand is spontaneous, collaborative and delivered with charm and a warm imperfection that reminds us what it means to be human.
This form of positivity is toxic precisely because it robs us of our right to call something out as damaging, or depressing, or shameful.
Archetype theory isn’t the product of rigorous scientific study. It is the result of an imagined relationship between the spirit world and the world of the real.