'How To Build A Great Brand With Very Little Money'.
Sept 15th. London. £300.
There has never been a better time to start a brand. There has never been a cheaper time, either. But when everyone has the same free tools as you, how do you stand out? The answer is simple enough: By learning how to use those tools with greater skill than anyone else. This workshop will give you some key insights into this.
How do you beat Goliath? It won’t be by out-spending them. But it will be by out-thinking them. It will also come from understanding what you are going to change. Understanding your purpose and how to make that mean as much to your customer as it does to you. This workshop will give you some key insights into this, too.
I am not a theorist. I have built brands from nothing with next to nothing just by understanding a few key basic rules. I shares these insights with you on my course: 'How To Build A Brand With Very Little Money.
What Will You Learn?
How to tell your story.
How to give your brand a voice.
How to get people to love your brand.
The importance of 1000 true fans.
The real advantages of being small.
Is your idea going to change anything.
How to put a moat around your idea.
How to identify a niche before others.
The importance of being first.
How to fund it without losing control.
How to build a great team without employing anyone.
There are probably lots of people out there like you. So if you have a need that no one is meeting, you may not be alone. Designing and making for yourself as the target market is no bad thing. You know the research groups are going to be quick, free and honest. So you can iterate quickly to get something that works.
The next thing is try it on close friends. If your product solves a need for them too, well, you know at that point you are on to something.
Blogger, Twitter, Vitamin Water and a bunch more products came about by answering the needs of the founders.
Your need is a good one to answer. It is valid. It is your insight. And it is good to be its biggest user, and the main target market for a while. Then once you’re happy with it, go see the rest of the world thinks.
In a perfect world everybody will love what you make. They will say nice things, tell their friends, and write letters to say just how much they love you. (Those things can and will happen, by the way.)
The reverse is also true. No matter what you do, there will be someone out there who will hate what you do. It’s going to happen. So get used to it. And remember because you stand for something, there will be people out there who will stand against you. The more you represent a new way of doing things, the more some people will form a resistance to it.
Don’t take it personally. Think of it this way, if you did something bland, it would be neither loved or hated. And it would end up in the worst of all places: Where no one gives a hoot about your product. Indifference is the real enemy.
Some may think Amazon’s product are books and just about everything else, but maybe it is more than that. Books, plus all the other stuff, are what they sell. But its product is speed.
Speed of finding what you want. Speed of ordering. Speed of delivery. That speed and ease is what we remember even though we can’t remember what the last book we bought from them was. It’s the speed and the super easiness that keeps us coming back for more.
So really understanding what your product is, is important. But it may be different to what we think. Amazon don’t spend much time making better books. But they spend a bunch of time trying to get you a faster book. I read the other day that they are even considering delivering books by drones. They know it’s the last mile of the delivery where things tend to slow down. Of course, their kindle delivers a book even faster.
Be always testing. Be always pushing. Be always tinkering. Never, ever-ever, stand still. Be always asking your customers to improve what you have developed.
Innovation is what separates the leader from the follower. But, more than that, it is the hungry innovator that keeps ahead. This stems from a deep-rooted curiosity about how it can be done better.
Once you stop asking that question, then you are relying on what the company did yesterday. Most companies only change when they have to, and that is already too late. Their time came, and went.
A culture of staying in beta is not an easy one. Constantly pushing, constantly trying new ways, constantly improving doesn’t make for an easy life. But at least you won’t wake up one morning and find someone has taken your business away.
Your job isn’t to be cool. Your job is to be useful. Your job is to make product that answers a common need, and to execute it uncommonly well. Its cool will stem from its utility.
How much easier it makes our lives? How much simpler it is than the old way? How much more information it delivers to us? And how that information can help us save time, money etc.
Now and again a product comes along that is so useful and so simple to use that you just can’t imagine how you managed before it. It creates a new habit. Habits based on ‘usefulness’ are hard to break. Habits based on ‘cool’ are easy to break. They are soon replaced by something cooler.
Sometimes designers get confused about what they do. They set out to make something cooler than what is currently out there. But that is the wrong path to take. What they should be making is something that is more useful than the old way.
That way it will find itself in continual use throughout its life, and not just while it’s the latest flavour of the month.
Nope, didn’t think so. There aren’t any. Zumba didn’t need advertising. The aerobic class he came up with was unique. So each class he took, people would go and tell their friends. From simple old fashioned word of mouth, it just grew. Now, there are 12 million people weekly taking Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations across more than 126 countries.
And it all started from Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez forgetting his music for a class he was teaching. So he had to improvise. He took the tapes he had in his backpack—consisting of traditional salsa and merengue music – and improvised a class using non-traditional aerobics music.
It wasn’t planned. It was a mistake. But the 'mistake product' was unique, different and much better than the traditional class he was supposed to teach.
And insight will come from you being the end user. You have to be the target market. Design for your need, for your frustrations, for your desires. You can’t imagine this out of thin air. You will have to be one of them.
Nike were runners before they were businessmen. Patagonia were climbers before they started Patagonia. Apple were coders long before apple existed. It’s your job to make a great product for your customer. It’s also your job to understand what they are needs are before they know what they are.
You have to have an uncanny insight in their feelings. You can only do this by being one of them.
Don’t be a little bit better than something that already exists. Don’t be a tweak. Tweaks don’t make a huge change. Tweaks don’t make history. The real measure of “innovation” is the change in human behaviour that it makes.
The reason to have ideas is to create change. Small tweaks make a small change. A driverless car will create more change than a new improved turbo diesel engine. So before you sit down to design your product, work out the change that you want to make. You will design differently when you have this in mind.
People will buy your product because the change it is going to make to their lives, to their health, to the planet. People buy change. So after you make it, be sure to sell the change it is going to make to them, and their lives.
1,000 songs in your pocket is a good way to sell an iPod while the competition were selling how many gigs of storage they had. Sell the change. Not the product.
Ever been to a great restaurant where the waiter was just plain not interested? Ever been in a famous shop when the sales person chatted to their mates on the phone for your entire time in the shop? Ever been to a 5-star hotel and the service was darned awful? It doesn’t matter who you are, if you hire people who don’t care, they will do their very best to reveal it to your customers.
And all that work you have put in gets crushed. So when you hire, ask yourself this: Are they passionate about what you are about? Are they a good fit with your brand and its principles? When you walk in through the door at Abercrombie and Fitch, it soon becomes very clear what is on brand for them.
Who you hire will represent you when you are not there. Does that frighten you or comfort you?
We live in a very busy world. We have the same amount of time as before, but there are so many more things competing for our attention. What gets it? The things that stand out. Average sinks to the bottom. Fast.
Average viral films don’t get shared. Average Instagrams don’t get liked. Boring tweets don’t get re-tweeted. Social media takes no prisoners. It’s binary. You either have our attention. Or not. It’s ruthless in sorting out the good from the bad.
The good thing is this: Excellent costs no more than average. In fact, you can argue that average costs more than excellent. All the money and effort to make something that no one is going to see is a dumb waste of money. The answer is to spend more time on being creative. It will pay you back in spades.