Wednesday, 9 December 2015

All we need is love

Day 10 (Thursday 10th December 2015)

10 past 10. In most advertisements, the time displayed on a watch 
is approximately 10:10. The reason for this is to "frame" the logo of the watch maker.
The hands at that number cause the eyes to look right at the logo! 

contributed by Shaun Hussey, Graphic Designer
This inspirational post was written by respected Marketing guru and wit Alan Gilmour. Alan has recently started a new role as the Head of Acquisition and Retention for Police Mutual. Alan and I should have crossed paths at Lloyds TSB (as he was Head of Marketing at the time when the group acquired a business I co-founded). However, we only met face-to-face when he became responsible for the high profile project of establishing Identity Cards for the UK's Passport Office. He is highly engaging company and those I know who have worked with him describe him as an inspirational, entertaining and remarkable leader. You can follow Alan on Twitter (his handle is @alan_gilmour) or read his (sporadic) personal blogging


You don't have to shine in a flashy and ostentatious manner to be a high flier.

Earlier this year Burt Shavitz died.

Burt, a bearded, free-spirited, hippy, who was 80 at his death, turned his affinity for nature and beekeeping into the multi-million dollar personal care products company, ‘Burt’s Bees’.
A man of deep principle who turned his back on the company he created and walked away with virtually nothing. And went back to the bees he loved.
Yet the company he created lives on and describes itself on its website as ‘basically a bunch of hands-on, tree-hugging, greased elbow do-gooders. It's kind of what makes our company special. We think the bees would agree.’
Burt would have approved.
And Burt’s story begs the question - Why is that ex hippies have built and run some of the world’s best brands?
Think about it
Michael Eavis and the Glastonbury Festival.

Richard Branson and Virgin.

Anita Roddick and Body Shop.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield and their eponymous ice cream.

Yvon Choinard and Patagonia.

And the biggest hippie and biggest Hippie Brand of them all, Steve Jobs and Apple.

The list goes on.
And if some of these companies were not exactly begat by the Hippie era, their founders certainly betray Hippie-esque tendencies.
But what is it about the Hippie culture that it has spawned such a litany of great brands?
It is because they have a cause.

A clear mission and vision statement that transcends making money or being first in our chosen market or improving shareholder returns. Or some other corporate guff.
They want to change the world for those they serve, those they work with.
For us a brand must have a cause.  A cause that inspires and motivates all who work for the brand, all who buy the brand. A cause rooted in a brand truth.
Brands do not necessarily need to change the world. But all brands must have a belief in what they are doing, why they are doing it, who they are doing it for, where they want to be.
The more succinct, the more inspiring, the more emotional, the better the brand.
Maybe Hippie Brands are just better at doing this.
At building a vision and a mission for the brand that resonates, that is distinctive, that is believable. Better at creating a cause for their brand.

And if you want to see what great looks like in this context, here is one example:
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis’ (Patagonia)
But no matter the words on the paper all will come to naught if your brand and its people cannot live and breathe the brand, strive for the cause. It all comes down to brand execution.
Great brands, hippie or not, not only define what they stand for and what they want to achieve, but can execute against this with great consistency and great rigour through the organisation and across all touch-points. Including those who work for the brand.
This is how you build a brilliant brand and soar.
It is not about being a hippie.
It is about defining and being true to an inspiring, emotional and motivating brand cause.

We can all do that.

The "Hippy Hippy Shakes" - sung by the Swinging Blue Jeans

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