One of my favorite quotes is from Scott Bedbury, who as FastCompany stated, “has served as a brand architect for some of the world’s most dynamic brands, helping make ‘Just Do It’ part of the global lexicon and tall lattes a part of everyday life for millions.” (He helped to create Starbucks and Nike as key brands.) He said, “A great brand is a story that is never completely told. It is a story that is evolving. It creates the emotional context people need to locate themselves in a larger experience.”
A great brand taps into emotion. A great brand reaches out with that powerful connecting experience. It is not just about the product. When I advise people on how to look at their experience attribute, I challenge them to look at not only the product they produce, such as great marketing results, but also the way in which they produced them. Things such as style and durability come to mind.
Take time to think through your total experience. It is not just about the results that you achieve but also how you achieve the results. A mentor once commented to me to always think about how the words we use make people feel. She said that people might forget what you said but not how you said it or how the words made them react.
Additionally, your experience is built on every action. A brand is built on a consistent set of attributes that are driven externally and internally every day. For better, or for worse, for richer or for poorer, every brand experience counts in product, in service, and in relationship. In Figure o2.1, you see that your total experience counts—whether that is your history, environmental factors, energy, or how you extend your skills.
For instance, your environment—your background or your history—has a big impact on brand value. Don’t ignore your history. Think through your history. At IBM, for instance, as we moved into service oriented architecture and evolution in the technology industry, we looked at our history of doing integration for years and saw that the strides that we had made in the past would influence how people perceived us in the future. Don’t ignore your history or your tradition. Traditions are powerful.
Traditions create in a person’s mind a positive, powerful experience. Again, it’s part of tapping into that brand, tapping into the emotion, and having a connecting experience. What is your tradition? I have a tradition that is part of my brand, and it includes applying quotes to different situations. In fact, in one job I gave a quote to each employee. I ran into one of those employees recently. He said that although at first he thought that it