“Great brands are about people. Not necessarily about founders. But ambitious and impatient people: people who want to make a significant change, and make it now.” -Adam Morgan, The Pirate Inside
Every great brand has a team of committed, ambitious people who are trying to make a dent in their industry.
These are people who embody their company’s brand, and relentlessly pursue a vision of what their company can be. They’re not people who are satisfied with the status quo, or following the path that others have tread before them. No. They are people who are deeply committed to their brand, and what their brand represents.
And these are the people who create great brands.
Brands are built by people
Any company can learn the principles of branding, and develop strategies to disrupt their marketplace. But without the right people to breathe life into the brand, all these strategies won’t amount to a hill of beans.
The secret sauce to every great brand is that inner circle of people who build it.
For example, Apple had Steve Jobs, but now the torch has been passed to a new leadership team: Jony Ive, Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue and Tim Cook, to name a few. Apple’s future is predicated on the ambitions, drive and vision of this group.
Brand Leaders have unifying traits
The people who build remarkable brands have a few common traits:
- Personal Commitment: It’s more than a job, it’s a way of life. The people who build great brands have a personal commitment to lead and execute the vision of the brand.
- They Are Present: Their focus is not on the future, or where this job may take them. They’re focused on the here and now.
- Embrace Change: Growing a sticky brand requires change. They push for change. They encourage it. They accept the tension and conflict that arises out of change.
- “No” Is For Sissies: The people who grow great brands are not swayed by resistance. They may hear “no” often, but that doesn’t stop them. They push for what they know is right for the brand.
These are not personality traits. They are values and beliefs that are driven by a deep commitment to the vision of their brand.
It’s not just the CEO’s job
The domain of brand builders is far greater than founders and CEOs. They can be Product Managers, VPs of Sales and Marketing, or anyone who picks up the reins to drive the brand.
And it’s not just one person. Yes, there are famous examples of brand leaders like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Howard Schultz. But many great brands are built with a team — a team with a shared vision, and the passion, commitment and impatience to not settle for anything less than greatness.
Does your organization have these people? Are you one of them? If so, this is your opportunity to make a dent in your industry. Make it a big one.