Archives For brand power

brand as story


Work hard dream big

This film for Beats by Dre is dedicated to Conor McGregor — he who is facing Floyd Mayweather in the biggest battle of his fighting career — and is not only topical and timely, it is pure inspiration.


We all need heroes, especially as young boys. My childhood hero was Muhammad Ali, and today I wear t-shirts that celebrate his great victories. To me Ali was a hero who devoted himself to an ideal, and transformed himself and the world in the process. To me he was a person who made an impact, and he captured my imagination. Like Conor McGregor does for young boys today.

At the same time, however, when I was a kid it was always strongly implied, “You can admire, dream about, and pretend to be a hero, but you are not one, and you will never be one. You will grow up and get a real job, and do what normal people do”. And that’s the real power of this Beats by Dre film — you can be a hero. Know this, and never submit.

Enjoy the fight this weekend everyone 🙂

brand as purpose


More than a brand, Tesla is on a mission

On Sunday afternoon, as I was walking through the Sydney CBD past Armani and Gucci stores, I suddenly stumbled upon the Tesla car dealership – right in the middle of the high street shopping precinct. “That’s a first”, I thought, and so I strolled on in.

The Model X and Model S were on show, and they sure are beautiful looking cars, outside and inside. A young girl came over with an iPad to take down my details. She asked me about my interest, and I asked her about the price. The Model X starts from $150,000, and the Model S from $120,000. But there is a “cheaper more mass market” model” she told me, that will soon be available – the Model 3, starting around $60,000.

Since I’m not really than keen on dropping more than $100,000 on a car, I expressed some interest in the Model S. “Okay. May I suggest you put your name on the order list then. We will require a $1,500 deposit, and you can expect delivery of the car in 2020.”

In 2020! That’s a three-year waiting list for a $60,000 car. Incredible. All the more incredible if you consider how Tesla almost died as a brand and a business not that long ago.

After four rounds of finance, The Truth About Cars launched a “Tesla Death Watch” in May 2008, as Tesla needed a further round of financing to survive. In October 2008 Elon Musk became CEO, laid off 25% of Tesla’s workforce, and added another US$40 million in order to avoid bankruptcy. By January 2009, Tesla had raised US$187 million and delivered 147 cars. Elon Musk had contributed US$70 million of his own money to the company. A pretty precarious position for any company.

And what a turnaround it’s been since then. Tesla’s production plan is set to increase to a rate of 500,000 vehicles a year by 2018. Tesla is the top ranking car brand with respect to customer satisfaction, and the top American car brand (SOURCE: Consumer Reports).

But I reckon Tesla isn’t just a car, or even a brand in the sense that nearly every other for-profit company is a brand. Tesla is actually the ultimate mission — the mother of all missions — and that is, to wean our planet off its addiction to fossil fuels, helping to create a long-term sustainable society; one that our grandchildren can enjoy and be proud of.

No automaker that chooses to concurrently produce internal combustion engine vehicles, can ever be authenticated as having a ‘mission’ that is as purposeful and meaningful as Tesla’s is. This mission — in combination with a brilliant product — is the reason everyone wants to own a Tesla and the reason everyone wants to work for Tesla. And the reason I have to wait three years to buy one.

(Although I did get a sales call on Tuesday offering me a Tesla test drive experience – which I will be sure to take them up on).

brand power


3f54e250199c9008c0efee934ba28f92The turn of the screw

There was an industrialist whose production line inexplicably broke down, costing him millions of dollars a day.

He finally tracked down an engineering expert who took out a screwdriver, turned one screw, and then – as the factory cranked back to life – presented a bill for $100,000.

Affronted, the factory owner demands an itemised version. The engineer was happy to oblige:

“For turning a screw: $1. For knowing which screw to turn: $99,999.”

And branding is just like that. Everyone is a “brand expert”. After all, how hard can it be, really, to turn a couple of Vision and Values screws.

Except when there are so many inputs and moving parts, the skill is knowing what screws to turn — and what screws to leave in the toolbox.

Or as I sometimes tell my clients, “My job is to show you where the heck Wally is.”


brand power


The world’s most expensive perfume

There are fragrances, there are luxury fragrances, and then there’s Clive Christian.

Originally established as The Crown Perfumery during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1872, the fragrance house had fallen upon hard times, with declining profits and a fall in the quality of its products. Perfumer Clive Christian purchased The Crown Perfumery in 1999, intent on restoring the brand back to its former glory.

The first release by the newly purchased company was the Original Collection, which featured the fragrances ‘1872’, ‘X’, and ‘No.1′. Today Clive Christian fragrances are widely known as the most expensive perfumes in the world, with prices that reach upwards of $800, and they’re happy to tell you that—you’ll find “The World’s Most Expensive Perfume” inscribed on the label of ‘No.1’ (US $2,150 an ounce to be exact). Mission accomplished: another great British brand revived and restored to its former glory (ala Burberry).

But what goes into such a lofty price tag? Well, there are the ingredients they use. The scent has top notes of bergamot, lime, Sicilian mandarin nutmeg, cardamom and thyme. The heart notes are more of heliotrope, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, and lily of the valley while the base notes smell of sandalwood, cedar wood, amber wood, vanilla, and vetiver. And all of the Clive Christian perfumes contain between 20 and 25% perfume, making them linger on the skin longer.

And then there is the packaging. The bottles are a work of art in and of themselves. Each bottle is handmade from lead crystal, while the neck is 24-karat gold-plated sterling silver, set with a solitaire. Not to mention that they have Queen Victoria’s stamp of approval – an enduring symbol of quality and British excellence.

Okay, let’s just get a reality check on all of this. Imagine you’re just starting your day. After a leisurely bath it’s time to choose which fragrance will best fit your mood. Instinctively, you reach for a bottle with a label proclaiming it is “The World’s Most Expensive Perfume.” A smug, satisfied smile reveals itself as you think, “I’ve made it, I’m wearing the world’s most expensive fragrance” –at US $750.00 for 50ml of liquid (two and a half table spoons), which works out to circa 70 cents a drop or US $30.00 per light spray.

But hey, if that’s the price for confidence in a bottle, maybe it’s not such a bad deal after all.