Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Typical Interview Question.... ?

Which are your favourite brands and why ???

I love this question. Its always an interesting one in terms of which angle to take. I guess if you were to ask me then it comes down to two different types of business models and how the brand sits within that. I guess my favourite brands have a model like this.

Sorry for my bad attempt at a brand onion or something like that (I tried to draw it but realised how bad my drawing is). I guess what Im trying to signify is an emotional heart which is centre piece or framework of the entire company and everything they do. It is usually linked to some sort of entrepreneurs or companies overall emotional view or love. Virgin would be one that sits in here. They don’t start a company and unless it adheres to their brand rules. Reading Branson’s book which showed he’s complete and clear direction in how he saw Virgin developing was a clear indicator of that. It’s amusing to see how he built companies in Australia vs in the UK. Its slightly different to be adaptable to the markets or industries, but still a central view of taking on the big guys is still evident.

Innocent also did the same thing around building a company on a central thought. I think it helped that they were ex advertising guys. But everything these companies do comes from this central heart. Its the little things as Mr Beattie says quite nicely, that often helps to prove the clearness in their thinking at every point of the business

Diesel is also great at doing this and is a favourite. They continue to do interesting things off the back of the owners/companies emotional view. Including Renzos current development of an artistic designer store in Japan showing jeans like a piece of art which I saw over at Sparking Curious Mind. The new art program that has been developed to help and find new artists across Europe. Or simple things like when I see online ads they are on design or trends websites. Not yahoo or msn. Renzo also has his book explaining what he has done. Which I am yet to read but will hurry up and purchase soon. Then there is the second model which I tend to not like:

This is where companies create a new product. Then try and get an outside company (agencies, brand consultants etc) to wrap a brand around it. I tend to not like brands that work like this. But there is always exceptions to every rule and there are a couple that have done this quite well. My favourites include Sony, Apple, HP, Audi and Honda. Its funny how all my choices are very heavy in terms of engineering and technology development. They are pushing the boundaries in their chosen field everyday. I think I read somewhere that the Wieden guys on Honda came up with 'The Power of Dreams' through talking to an engineer in Japan and just seeing his passion and love for what he did. It was his dream job. I see Apple as not just a brand or technology company. It is a paradym shifting machine that continues to drive cultural change in its brand and its technology.

1984 - Launch of the MacIntosh (I love this ad)

1989-91 Mr Gates continued to steal from the OS Software to create Windows

1991 - first ergonmic version of a laptop Powerbook 100

1993 - Launched one of the first digital cameras

1990s - mainly software upgrades. But brought back Jobs in

1997 1998 - iMac how to make an ugly grey computer look beautiful. Purchase of Final Cut software program

2001 - THE IPOD

A lot of technology that continues to drive change in culture. Its great to see them saving the company from what looked like bankruptcy. They continue to 'Think Different'. There brand elements that was developed from the outside is taken further into the company. But I believe the external brand elements exacerbate the way they work internally on developing things that are different. You can tell this by the struggle they had in the 90's with the cost of their R&D vs sales. I also believe Jobs is a major conveyor of how to not just build technology but build emotional attachment to that technology. In a previous post I have commented on the technology change theory. Which they have struggled with. In a market that is commodity based. They have recreated an emotional attachment to what is a somewhat boring product and are now after all this time, are starting to make money from it.

So brands are brands. In our world thats all we talk about. I guess I love brands that arent just something you get an agency (whatever type) to create. The company creates it in everything they do and the outsiders just help amplify it.

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