'How To Build A Great Brand With Very Little Money'.
Dec 5th. 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.
Not every hire works out. And both parties know it quickly. Within three months you know that, well, it isn’t going to end well. And yet companies don’t act. The person isn’t happy. The team isn’t happy.* And that can last for years. Decades, even.
Your duty is to the team, the culture, and ultimately to the purpose of the company. And, therefore, you have to do the difficult thing quickly.
The person would be happier in another job. The team would be happier with another person. And life is too short for people to be miserable. People make the mistake of being nice, and not dealing with the problem. This means the person is unhappier for longer. It may seem counter-intuitive, but there is a kindness to acting quickly.
*A players prefer to be around A players.
Hire Slowly. It's a great mantra for success.
Make the interview last longer. An hour is not enough. You will get to know more about them by setting them a live project. Give them a short deadline. See how they get on. It will tell you much more an interview* ever will.
Take it out of the office. Go for a run with them. Have a beer with them. See them as people. If you can’t spend time with them, do you really want to hire them?
Remember, a crazy amount of your management time will be spent on a wrong hire. A lot of your stress will come from having to deal with a wrong hire. So can you afford to spend more of your time on making the hiring process longer? Yup, I think so
Note: *Introverts don’t interview well, but can have the best ideas).
Your company is only as strong as the people that work in it. The people are only as strong the culture that exists within your company. And the purpose of your company, its reason to exist, will define the culture.
Teams build a business. But culture builds a team. So your culture is pretty important.
Culture is a funny thing to talk about. You can't see it. You can't feel it. But when it's not right, you can both see it and feel it. Culture is not a big thing. Just lots of small things.
Patagonia let their people go surfing when the surf is good. At my Hiut Denim Co, every pair of jeans is signed by the GrandMasters who made them: All artists sign their work. At Nike, it created a group called the Ekins. They know Nike backwards. Some even had a Tattoo to show they were part of the elite.
When you define your purpose, it attracts like-minded people as a moth is attracted to light. So define it well.
Your purpose will define your product. The culture of your company. The people you hire. Even your customers who buy from you. And ultimately it will define how successful you are. But perhaps the most important thing that your purpose gives everyone in the company is a clear understand of why the company exists. Everyone in the company understands what it is that you are going to change.
Change is your secret fuel. People want to be part of change. People want to be part of history. Teams gather around ideas that will change things.
That’s why your purpose matters. It builds teams who are passionate about the project. They are there to make a difference, not just to make a quick buck.
When a team is motivated, when a team understands the change it will make, even when the odds are stacked against it, it is hard thing to stop.
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.