Episode 3 – Storm the Castle / Brand Design

Distinctive brand design will communicate your values and make you stand out from the competition.

Chapter 7. Calm Before the Storm / Defining Your Mission

So, we’re going to reinvent the phone – Steve Jobs, Apple

Does it come in black? – Batman

Steve Jobs with iPhone

On January 9th, 2007 Business Icon Steve Jobs turned to his team and told them to remember this moment. The moment before iPhone. Because after it, the world was going to change.

It was a moment Steve had been looking forward to for two and a half years. Despite having already launched two industry changing products with the Macintosh computer and the iPod, this moment was going to exceed both of them. Steve believed this would not just change the way we worked and enjoyed music; it would enhance the way we lived.

To reach that historical moment, Apple had been following a road map set out by Steve since the 1980s:

“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”

Under Steve Jobs, Apple had a clear and inspiring mission. The words may have changed over the years, but until his death, Apple had always followed the principle that marketing was about values and emotion,

“not […] bits and mega-hertz.”

It was for this reason that millions of loyal Apple ambassadors were happy to buy a music device from a computer company that had no heritage in the industry. The same trust and belief in Apple would also lead to the disruption of the smartphone industry and the downfall of its current leaders, Blackberry.

The people who bought the Macintosh, iPod and iPhone put their trust in Apple and their mission – rather than the specific tech spec of the product.

Creating a clear and inspiring mission is vital to your brand success, especially as you hit the market. In the fog of war, you will need both a laser-sighted focus and an attractiveness that will inspire loyal supporters.

Creating a Mission Statement for your brand isn’t easy. It’s difficult to summarise why your brand exists in a snappy statement whilst avoiding vagueness or puffery.

An inspiring mission should:

  • Incorporate your brand’s higher purpose (see Episode 1 Origins Chapter 2).
  • Communicate a clear benefit to your target audience.
  • Avoid using the word ‘and’.

TIP 1 – Create a clear, direct Mission…
that will give your brand a laser-focus that inspires your stakeholders.

Chapter 8. Fly your colours / Brand Design

Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple – Steve Jobs, Apple

As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting – Batman

Now that you have a bullet-proof mission that points a clear path to victory, it is time ensure that everyone realises it’s you out there taking the ground.

In Ancient Rome as the city became more cosmopolitan, symbols were used as a shorthand that could transcend language and enable citizens to recognise what a particular business, shop or organisation did.

A logo is not a brand, although it is the most recognisable part of your brand’s identity.

The visual elements of your brand should act as a utility belt that trigger perceptions and reinforce associations for your customers.

Amongst others, Steve Jobs had two particular talents that are evident throughout Apple’s success and especially its brand design.

The first: thinking differently. Steve named his company because he had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name sounded “fun, spirited and not intimidating.” This produced the unexpected and iconic Apple symbol.

Secondly, Steve was great at hitting a problem with ‘The Simple Stick’. This approach was applied to everything, including brand design, and is the primary reason why the Apple brand works seamlessly across everything it does.

A great brand design should be:

  • Simple, versatile and easy to remember.
  • Distinctive so that it stands out from competitor brands.
  • Relevant so that it conveys just enough meaning.

TIP 2 – Give them a symbol to follow
Invest in a brand identity system to ensure consistency of design to build recognition of your company quickly.

Chapter 9. Assemble / Brand Launch

This is iPhone – Steve Jobs, Apple

I am Iron Man – Tony Stark

Let’s wind the tape back to a few months before that critical Keynote at Macworld.

Everything was set. The launch date, the promotional campaign, and most importantly, the product.

Steve was looking forward to getting on stage and saying, “this is iPhone”. All the planets were aligned to disrupt another industry and change the way we use phones for the foreseeable future… and then… PING!

An email hits Steve’s mailbox from Apple’s legal team. Cisco own the name ‘iPhone’.

But Steve knew it was too late for that. He’d taken the long journey and undergone the rite of passage required to become a super brand. Nothing was going to stop him from unveiling the fruits of his journey to the world including more than a few bugs with the iPhone software that were giving his team nightmares.

So he launched the revolutionary product anyway, took his team to the edge with getting the phone to perform perfectly during the demonstration (his team were so nervous during the keynote most of them were drunk) and worked things out with Cisco later.

In the final stages of a hero’s journey, they’re often required to undergo a final trial or battle. Perhaps a re-match with and old foe they’ve failed to defeat earlier in their career. Of course, now they are armed with the knowledge, power and experience accumulated on their road to becoming a true hero – and are able to triumph.

For your brand, this moment is what we like to call, ‘the spark moment’. An element to the launch that creates surprise and excitement, elevating your new brand into the stratosphere at just the right time.

Steve Jobs was a master of it. (take a look at the iPod and Mac Air launches on YouTube)

Not everyone will launch a product or company on a stage to an audience of millions. Your spark moment could be an association with an influencer, exclusive distribution rights, a partnership with a charity, or targeted guerrilla marketing that highlights your USP.

Whatever it is, hold true to your symbol, and announce your super brand identity to the world.

TIP 3 – Create a spark moment for your launch
An element that has PR value that helps communicate your brand essence along with your shiny new product or service

Take aways:

Be clear in your efforts
Be distinctive in your branding
Be memorable with your launch

If you would like support in crafting your Superbrand’s image or knowing how to engage your target market then contact New Realm today for a free consultation on 07939 242725 or email us at matthew@newrealmcreative.co.uk

Next time… Episode 4 – The Multiverse / Brand Success

Steve Jobs photo credit: Matthew Yohe [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]