Five Things You Should Do to Build a Trusted and Believable Brand

Posted in Insights

As featured on Authority Magazine via Medium, our take on authentic branding.

It has never been more important to be extremely clear on who you are and what you do for people inside and outside your company. You can’t just say how you’re different, you have to BE how you’re different. There’s too much noise and transparency in the marketplace to try and fake your way through with clever sales pitches alone.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Roughly 30 years ago, I founded a mountain bike clothing business, working through all the startup challenges to help make it successful before selling it off and beginning to do spot gigs with other companies. I found that I loved the continuous process of parachuting in to problem-solve creatively, and that my mind naturally used brand as a compass for making all sorts of decisions — not just the more obvious design and communications activities, but the operational and service practices that make the whole organization go. I developed this belief that brand is operations. So, whether it’s the minutiae of choosing which of 100 different varieties of Velcro straps work best in a new breed of biking shorts, or figuring out how to deliver service standards at a global hospitality brand, weaving brand into your operational DNA drives everything. So I’ve just been on one long, exhilarating, rewarding mountain bike ride from the start.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It was back in the clothing company days, before we were even able to afford color printing. I had the genius idea to design a black and white “photocopyable” product brochure with a highly sophisticated scheme of delineated squares that could be colored in — manually! — using a suite of carefully selected colored pencils. I believed I had single-handedly defeated the entire overpriced offset printing industry with sheer ingenuity and elbow grease, while simultaneously imbuing our brand with a more personal and artistic flair! Then, of course, our very first promotional push required 1,000 pieces be ready to distribute within a few days. A few all-nighters and bad hand cramps later, I’d learned a valuable lesson on scale, and the real price of hard cost vs. opportunity cost.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

It’s really our belief that brand has the power to make big things happen across your organization and your industry if you treat it as a compass heading for operations, not just a cosmetic layer on top of it all.
We take a vertical approach to brand integration, trying not to get lost in the top five percent of making things look good before understanding what connects the entirety of an organization’s behavior and practices. Again, to us, brand is operations.

We create brands from the inside out and design experience from the outside in. Meaning, we are thinking about the essence of what makes a company unique while simultaneously crafting the experience and expression of that brand as it meets the customer. That gives us the DNA and compass heading for everything from the product and service, to environments where it’s delivered, online and off.

Check out the rest of the interview HERE.

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