Fortune.com recently published an article detailing how to build a killer brand like Apple. We ate it up, and now want to share our take on the whole thing with you.
It’s no secret that the Apple brand is a beautiful thing. It is strong. It stands out. It is chic. As Apple consumers (the Next-Mark team included), we constantly crave the shiniest, thinnest, fastest products with the most storage space. In short, we love to love Apple. But how do we create brands that consumers love?
If you already have a brand, you’re one step ahead of the game. But it better have some sex appeal. Solid brands — think Apple, Amazon and Starbucks — just sell. Period. Fortune.com refers to these as apostle brands. It takes as little as one photo of a slick new iPhone, major megapixel GoPro or creamy Cotton Candy Crème Frappuccino and we’re practically drooling.
But not all companies can accomplish the foam-at-the-mouth-gotta-have-it-now sensation. The article notes that of the 10,000 multi-million-dollar consumer companies in existence, only 100 can properly claim to have apostle brands. It is these beauties that charm and enchant us by giving us exactly what we want — even if we don’t always know what that is. Sadly, weak brands get cast aside, find a home on the shelf while their prices drop and are then sought after by bargain shoppers.
Synthesized from the book “Rocket: Eight Lessons to Secure Infinite Growth,” the rules, in our opinion, may not be right for every organization. However, they do serve as thought-provoking ideas for creating, and transforming, brands. For instance:
Rule No. 1: Don’t ask your customers what they want (because they don’t know until you show them). We would advise not to discount the desires of the people actually using your product or service, but to leverage your specific knowledge and technical expertise to create something beyond their expectations.
Rule No. 2: Woo your biggest fans (because they’re absolutely worth it). We always advise clients that loyalty goes both ways, and loyal customers need to feel they are recognized and that you won’t let them down.
Rule No. 3: Always welcome your customer’s scorn (because you’ll come back stronger). Yes, this is difficult, but all complaints must be considered – even those that prove invalid. You can never know too much about what your customers are thinking.
Rule No. 4: Looks do count (because people really do judge a book by its cover). Not every company can aspire to the “visual brilliance” that is Disney, but they should, at the very least, appear professional and in touch with their target markets.
Rule No. 5: Transform your employees into passionate disciples (because love is truly infectious). While this rule addressed direct customer service, we encourage our clients to consider every employee as a potential brand advocate. This entails keeping them apprised of where you’re going so they can help you get there.
Rule No. 6: Better ramp up your virtual relationships (because that’s what your customers are doing). It’s a “constant contact” world, and we advise our clients to keep all their circuits open.
Rule No. 7: Take giant leaps (because you’re not going to win with timid steps). We would add the caveat that “fearlessness” cannot be the mantra of every organization. Organic growth is not always a bad thing.
Rule No. 8: Find out what schismogenesis means (because it will save your relationships). It’s like we tell our clients: Brands are not static. They can have lives of their own and require constant monitoring to maintain their place in the market – and their apostles.
Our final piece of advice: Make your brand magical, inspiring, trustworthy, loyal and easy to love.