| January 23, 2013
The other day I was reading Adam Hanft’s Fast Company article, “Stop Talking About Apple, And 7 Other Brand Resolutions.” I was enjoying the article until I got to the seventh brand resolution, “Stop reading business books.” Damn. This is not what I want to read just when I have finished the first draft of a new book. But other than that I am in total agreement with Adam’s six other resolutions.
Adam’s first resolution, “Stop bringing up Apple at every meeting,” echoes something my editor at Palgrave Macmillan said. When she asked me for examples of brands I was going to talk about in the book, she quickly added, “And don’t say Apple.” I understand why both of them would say it. Apple is a unique phenomenon, a tech company that gets the importance of simplicity. But it does demonstrate the value of a meaningfully different experience. I think I broke down and finally used Apple as an example when talking about the importance of design in delivering a positive user experience.
Adam’s second resolution resonates with me personally. He states, “Don’t be a helicopter brand.” He suggests that helicopter parents have nothing on their brand equivalents, which show their love for customers with a barrage of emails, tweets, Facebook posts, and Pinterest pins. I know the feeling, as some of the brands I use determinedly try to get me to use their services by any means possible: JetBlue, Patagonia and LinkedIn. Just cool it, will you? I know where to find you when the need arises. It is about time that marketers figured out that people really don’t want to think about their brands all the time, even if they would like us to. (I will note here that some parents take the helicopter thing too far as well. One in Vermont has actually created a quadcopter to follow his kid to the school bus stop.)
Regular readers will know how much I agree with “Get beyond the like,” so let’s skip that one and move on to the fourth resolution, “Take a self-administered DNA test.” As Adam suggests, people are always talking about a brand’s DNA, but do they really know what they are talking about? Adam writes:
Spend some time this year putting some real intellectual effort into a genetic probe of your brand - what has it inherited, and how does environment shape those attributes? - and it will live a longer and happier life.
And that is the subject of my next book. Based on the ValueDrivers workshop created by Gordon Pincott and myself, the book will detail exactly what a genetic brand probe should encompass, and outlines ways in which you can amplify your brand to make more money. The book won’t be published until later this year, so meanwhile check out Adam’s remaining resolutions, including “Don’t let big data blind you from universal truths.”
Just remember, ignore resolution number seven because I am going to tell you what has not changed about successful marketing, the universal truths if you like. Funnily enough, knowing what has not changed makes it far easier to deal with what has.
So what do you think of Adam’s resolutions? Which ones will you sign up for? Please share your thoughts.