I recently had the opportunity to read Scott Bedbury’s book, A New Brand World, in its entirety and have found it be one of my favorite business/marketing books to date. The book offers “8 Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership,” but delivers so, SO much more than that.
Now for some background on the author.
Scott Bedbury has played key roles in two of the world’s largest brands, Nike and Starbucks, and offers many case studies from each throughout the book. At Nike, he lead the company’s advertising efforts — in partnership with the famed advertising agency, Weiden + Kennedy — for seven years between 1987 and 1994. During this time, Nike’s sales grew from around $800 million to over $10 billion annually. Then, beginning in 1995, Bedbury “traded in his sneakers for coffee” and he spent three years as the CMO for Starbucks. During this time, the brand saw pivotal growth in both stores and sales.
From the introduction, Bedbury offers the view that “brand-building’s big cultural moment has arrived.” And, for being written in 2002, he certainly had some things right.
Here are his three reasons:
1. “[If] you understand your brand — its value, its mission, its reason for being — and integrate it consistently into everything you do, your entire organization will know how to behave in virtually any and all situations.”
It’s this integration that creates trust in a brand — the behavior and quality, over time. Once trust has been formed, then and only then can the advertising efforts of an organization truly be affective. These efforts must conform to what already is, not what should be.
2. “The most valuable assets of a company are no longer physical. [There] is one asset, an intangible one, that stands head and shoulders above all the others and that cannot be easily outsourced: the brand.”
That one is clearly evident today. From Nike and Starbucks, to Toyota and BP — nothing is as important as a brand’s reputation.
3. “There is and will continue to be increasing pressure on corporations, especially the large ones, to behave more responsibly as citizens — a trait that I’ve labeled elsewhere [as] ‘using your superhuman powers for good.’ “
This is even more true in today with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Brands now have the opportunity to speak directly with their audience on a social level — to positively, or negatively influence the perceptions of their company. As Bedbury puts it, “in the New Brand World, there will be fewer places for companies that disrespect this fundamental social dynamic.”
Wow. That’s profound. Especially for 2002!
And that’s just in the introduction.
From there, Bedbury introduces one of his eight principles per chapter.
His “Eight Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century” are as follows:
1. “Relying on brand awareness has become marketing fool’s gold.”
2. “You have to know it before you can grow it.”
3. “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
4. “Transcend a product-only relationship with your customers.”
5. “Everything matters.”
6. “All brands need good parents.”
7. “Big doesn’t have to be bad.”
8. “Relevance, simplicity, and humanity — not technology — will distinguish brands in the future.”
Now, I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book for you. It’s a really fun, quick read. I highly recommend buying his book to learn more about his eight principles.
Here’s a convenient link if you would like to buy it from Amazon. (Yes, I am an Amazon Affiliate.)