“Deliver your brand promise.” With Fotis Georgiadis & Bryan Jimenez

Deliver your brand promise throughout your entire organization. Many businesses focus on transmitting messages through advertising, yet neglect more important aspects of message transmission, like the customer experience. Great brands make a commitment to understanding and delivering their brand promise at every customer interaction point in every department of the organization, via corporate brand awareness […]

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Deliver your brand promise throughout your entire organization. Many businesses focus on transmitting messages through advertising, yet neglect more important aspects of message transmission, like the customer experience. Great brands make a commitment to understanding and delivering their brand promise at every customer interaction point in every department of the organization, via corporate brand awareness and personal brand awareness. Brands do not spring up accidentally from holes in the ground, they are strategically designed, and every single point of the customer experience needs to be designed and optimize to deliver the brand promise. Do this to keep your organization’s reputation better than your competitors, keep your customers happy and coming back for more, and keep your revenues increasing.

As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Bryan Jimenez, the founder, brand strategist & creative director of the brand consulting firm Archimedes Strategic Branding, where he builds brands, creates breakthrough branding and strategically crafts memorable multimedia branded experiences. He’s also the host of The Archimedes Effect podcast and a burgeoning public speaker on topics like overcoming adversity and sparking breakthrough innovations.

Bryan has worked extremely hard to get ahead, virtually starting at zero in a dysfunctional home in an impoverished neighborhood in the heart of one of US’s most dangerous gangs. His will to overcome adversity has sparked a lifelong love affair with seeking and executing unorthodox creative solutions. His first creative position was in a small graphic design and print studio in Ontario CA in 2005. After only one year, his employer offered to partner with him and he became co-founder of a publishing & advertising business in 2006. He discovered MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) around 2010 and utilized them to bolster his understanding across multiple domains, taking courses from the world’s top universities offered through Coursera. In 2015 Bryan was invited by Coursera to their exclusive Coursera Partners Conference, after learning of his inspiring personal journey and his firm determination for overcoming adversities. This supplementary education helped him lead innovative, strategic and creative branding collaborations for well-known brands like Harley-Davidson, Pepsi, US Department of Energy, Wacom, TEDx, and others. In October 2017, Bryan helped break the Electric Vehicle World Hypermiling Record, helping to demonstrate the power of collaborative ingenuity even without massive corporate funding. Bryan continues working hard helping organizations by revolutionizing their branding, improving customer experiences, sparking greater internal innovation and creativity, and consulting on breakthrough innovation.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Before I even knew about the word brand I had a keen interest in design and in business, since I’m both a left-brain rational thinker and also a right-brain creative. I grew up poor and never really fit into the authoritarian public school system, but being curious by nature I have always been hungry for learning. After high school I stumbled my way into the field of graphic design, learning as I worked. Shortly afterward my employer offered to partner with me to launch a publishing and advertising business, my introduction to entrepreneurship. I was extremely excited to work hard to make that business succeed, being also eager to learn as much as possible from this new experience. As a designer who was now also involved in running a business, I started to notice that there was a huge disconnect between the designer’s objectives and the business objectives. This realization sparked in me the desire to understand, and possibly solve, this challenge. I understood that the disconnect would be somewhere in the realm of marketing, so I started to read books on marketing in order to try and decipher this mystery.

A major turning point for me was when I took a marketing course authorized by University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School and offered through Coursera. It changed my entire perspective on how design relates to an organization. I had heard the word “brand” mentioned for years, but its meaning and importance now became very clear to me, as well as the relationship between design, business, and communications in marketing. Through my multidisciplinary approach I had discovered effective solutions to many common marketing, branding, design and business challenges.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest marketing and branding mistake I made when I was first starting was to create branding and designs without gathering data about the brand, the target audience, and the business objectives. This would be unthinkable for me today, which is why I look back and I chuckle a bit and shake my head. Here’s a lesson we can learn from that: Branding is not merely art. Art can be created for no purpose, just to exist and look aesthetically pleasing. Conversely, branding, being a form of design, is explicitly designed to accomplish purpose. This means that even though a piece of purposeless art can be used inside of a branding project, branding and design are not simply art. Branding is a form of design, and design is a form of commercial art. This means that, unlike art, branding and design exist for the purpose of fulfilling commercial objectives. Essentially what I’m saying is that if your branding and design team has little or no understanding of the target audience, which is required for accomplishing the commercial objectives, and they have little or no understanding of the business objectives, then they are not engaged in branding, they are in reality creating meaningless art that will have little to no impact on your business. This was a profound realization for me in my early days. Branding should not be arbitrary nor purely subjective, it must be designed deliberately and strategically.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?

Similar to what I mentioned before, the tipping point came when I understood that effective branding can only be created when there is a clear understanding of the business, the brand and its objectives. Without clarity in these areas the branding efforts will ultimately fail. Branding is a form of communication, and without clarity of the business, the brand and its objectives there is no clarity of the messaging needed to accomplish those objectives, neither then can there be clarity of the branding that is needed to communicate said messaging. That understanding made me change the way I approached branding. Now I have a proven strategic brand methodology, a formula, for repeating success in branding, in building brands, for improving existing brands, and for re-energizing brands so they can reach the next level. This allowed me to start consulting as a Brand Strategist where I run brand strategy workshops that can supercharge businesses.

A great takeaway lesson is to really understand the difference between branding and brand, and their importance. There are a million popular opinions of what they are, most are incorrect and only cause confusion. I always give this recommendation, check good authoritative sources. For matters of brand, I often defer to the American Marketing Association and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

What is brand? ISO standard 10668 defines brand as “a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos and designs, or a combination of these, intended to identify goods, services or entities, or a combination of these, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits/values.” In other words, brand exists in the mind of the customer. Brand is what the customer thinks about your organization based upon their combined experiences with your organization and products & services. Brand is sparked at the very center of an organization’s purpose, extends outward to be expressed at every single level of the organization, and is finally born inside the mind of the customer. Brand is not the logo, nor is it the company itself. Brand is the intangible perception of an organization.

What is branding? The American Marketing Association defines branding as “a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” In other words, branding is the communication of unique aspects of the brand.

Another takeaway lesson is to understand that you can’t have good branding unless you understand your brand, and also that your branding team can’t craft good branding unless they understand your organization and it’s objectives. Poor branding is an indication that an organization doesn’t have all it’s ducks in a row, or worse, that they don’t really know who they are. That’s why many organizations discount branding as merely a form of artistic curiosity that is kind of necessary but can ultimately be handled by an entry level graphic designer. They psychologically project their own lack of understanding about their brand onto the branding team and onto their efforts. Great organizations don’t think or act in this way, they understand that brand is an intangible that can be considered to be the most important strategic asset in the organization.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m very excited about the new podcast I’m hosting called The Archimedes Effect. It’s inspired by one of the greatest minds and outliers in history, Archimedes of Syracuse, and reveals aspects of his revolutionary mindset, one that helped him break seemingly impossible barriers, hence making him one of the world’s most important innovators. The phrase “The Archimedes Effect” is a term I use to signify the impact of his multi-disciplinarian, heterodox mindset. The podcast focuses on topics like innovation, outliers, creativity, complex problem solving, heterodoxy and related domains in all fields. It’s a blend of curated commentary, conversations and interviews, so far in audio-only, but my team is experimenting with formats for adding video very soon. Good content is paramount so I’m always on the lookout for interesting new guests, and we still have room for a pair of new sponsors.

I think “The Archimedes Effect” podcast will help people tremendously. Think about it, domain-specific knowledge in our world has become one of a hyper-specialized mindset, to the extreme point that we have formed countless information silos in the most important institutions of business, academia, science, technology, and in the public sector. The result? Long-form thoughtful discussion between disparate domains has become rare, outliers are being demonized and barred from institutions, important breakthroughs are being mis-characterized and tossed out, and revolutionary ideas are being born but are not being understood or appreciated so they are mocked and ignored (only to be re-discovered 50 years later). One solution to this problem is the application of the multi-disciplinarian, heterodox mindset that catalyzes The Archimedes Effect.

The greatest breakthroughs in history are always brought about by outliers. The Archimedes Effect podcast aims to help people benefit from the power unleashed by an unorthodox, divergent, outlier mindset. Hyper-specialization did humanity a lot of good in its time, and it was great for the industrial revolution and for the assembly line and such, but for the information age we need to be able to look at the big picture and connect the dots. Mountains of data mean nothing if they are not well understood. Information becomes more valuable when it is placed in a larger, overarching context and infused with deeper meaning. I think this is how the next major breakthroughs in science and technology will occur, by utilizing the mindset of Archimedes. The Archimedes Effect podcast is available right now on all the major podcast platforms.

What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?

Burnout can be such an antagonist to productivity and can be physical, mental, or both simultaneously. For dealing with burnout I’ve created my own mental happy place where I can go to recharge. I love music so I have a few Spotify playlists ready for dealing with mental burnout, my favorite for this being my “Skillfully Soothing Guitars” playlist. These help me relax and melt away stress so I can get back in the game, remain positive and bounce back with vim and vigor. Another thing I have found helpful is to simply unplug and take a break. Productivity is very important to me, so I had to develop the strength to pull away from a task in order to take a break. At times all I need is to take a short walk, and it can be surprisingly refreshing!

OK, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

First of all, in my view marketing itself is not limited to conveying messages, branding and advertising. Marketing is about adding and delivering value to stakeholders and customers. That being said, to me difference between brand marketing and product marketing is quite clear, as well as their relationships to each other. Brand marketing essentially deals with an organizations attempts to adding & delivering value and conveying messages, through branding and experiences, in order to influence how their customers perceive them (keeping in mind the previously mentioned definition for “brand”). Product marketing essentially deals with adding & delivering value and conveying messages, through branding and experiences, to promote product/service, educate customers about the products/services, and/or influence customers to prefer their product/service above their competitors. Brand marketing and product marketing are both tasked with maintaining positive brand perceptions by delivering on the brand promise, conveying positive messages wrapped in positive customer experiences which are wrapped in valued products/services. They differ in this important way, brand marketing does not focus on talking about the products/services, instead it focuses on adding real value and perceived value to the brand. Product marketing must do the same and additionally talk about the products/services. Product marketing should not deliver a compelling advertisement then deliver a poor product, equating to a poor experience. This is called “polishing turds”.

To sum it up concisely, at the top level is brand marketing, and nested inside is product marketing. The purpose of brand marketing is to strengthen positive brand perception, and the purpose of product marketing is to strengthen positive perception for both the products/services and for the brand.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

A well formulated brand can achieve a greater competitive advantage than its competitors. Some examples of organizations that understand the importance of brand building and thus invest accordingly are Apple, Amazon and Nike. Just take a moment to think about how far beyond their competitors they are! The reason this is possible is because the process of building a brand involves understanding the organization from a deeply strategic perspective, including discussing the vision, mission, organizational capabilities, audience needs, unique value proposition, differentiation, positioning, messaging, communications, and so forth. The brand building process creates an environment where insights, opportunities and competitive advantages can spring forth to be discovered and implemented, many times climaxing in one or several A-HA moments.

A well formulated brand can achieve higher levels of profitability. Acquiring deep knowledge of the brand allows organizations to know very clearly who they are, who they need to hire and partner with, what they are doing, when to do it, where they are, where they need to be, why it matters, and how to move forward. This in turn provides the brand with the information needed to craft superior value products, services, experiences, and messages that drive their customers to do business with them instead of with their competitors. This preference wins them larger market shares, creates strong customer loyalty which can greatly increase customer lifetime value, and can increases their price elasticity which can even allow for price increases. All these things in turn can nurture growth and expansion into other related or unrelated markets, bringing in previously inaccessible revenue streams.

A well formulated brand can build a large community of loyal fans. This used to be limited to celebrities, but in the age of social media now brands can build large fan bases. In my opinion this is a next-level way of doing business. It’s one thing to sell products and services, but it’s quite another to have your brand resonate so deeply with your audiences that they become your fans and brand advocates. “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand” said Howard Schultz, former CEO and chairman emeritus of Starbucks. Consumers have become increasingly sophisticated, having access to endless streams of information via the internet and access to their peers via social media. One key ingredient for building a brand is authenticity, and customers are more averse than ever about aligning with organizations that come off as inauthentic, salesy, or fake. Psychologically, customers prefer brands that are aligned with their own values, and these types of humanized value alignments make it easier for consumers to become fans. Fans can be like a captive audience and can act like your brand’s army of unofficial defenders, community managers, moderators, event planners, content generators, influencers, advertisers, referral drivers, traffic drivers, customer service reps, etc. Such a large community of fans can also bring with it a wealth of customer data, providing your organization with new information about your audiences preferences and behavior, as well as serving as a fertile playground for new ideas, new products and new services. Brand communities can also have a type of built-in PR opportunity apparatus, since brand loyalists share with each other tips & advice, success stories, and testimonials. Having a brand community also drives a self-perpetuating mechanism that reinforces the perception of high brand value, both for existing customers and for potential new customers, hence helping to continuously drive engagement and conversions. Authentic brands are also able to turn their own employees into loyal fans and brand ambassadors as well.

A well formulated brand could also develop into a lifestyle brand. This aspect of brand building can be an important one since it has the potential to reach non-traditional revenue streams. Strong brands can extend the reach of their brand’s mind-space into other compartments of their audience’s minds, potentially accessing financial resources that were previously inaccessible. This in turn allows a brand to develop new products and services that are outside of their main product offerings, ones that revolve around the audience’s lifestyle. The success of a brand’s lifestyle products can be accelerated when combined with a loyal community of brand advocates. Strong lifestyle brands can open up a hugely successful brand stores, usually online, where their loyal fans can purchase the gear they need to show off their support for their favorite brand. The gear normally consists of imprinted promo items such as branded t-shirts, water bottles, embroidered caps, and so on. Some top brands, like Adidas, add dynamism for their branded gear using temporary pop-up stores, creating excitement, exclusivity and high demand. Building a lifestyle brand can be a great way to bring in previously inaccesible revenue streams and continue to drive brand loyalty.

A well formulated brand can recover from a crisis. “To err is human”, said the English poet Alexander Pope. Mistakes are an unavoidable part of the human experience, but organizations normally would rather avoid or prevent them. Brands have some recourse from the damage caused by a mistake, a circumstantial crisis, or even something like a recall. Brands develop, nurture and cultivate a good reputation along with good will, these things being an integral part of brand building. When a problem arises, the fans of a brand may very well be disappointed or even upset for a short time, but when a brand is humanized and is infused with authentic human values and demonstrates humanized transparency, it becomes much easier for customers and fans to forgive and forget. “To err is human, to forgive, divine.”

A well formulated brand can achieve long term sustainability. Just to clarify, I’m not referring to environmental sustainability, I am referring to an organization’s ability to sustain itself for a long period of time. We’ve all known of organizations that start off great but then end up fizzling out. Even though some factors are out of our control, we can have much influence on sustainability. Think of the factors I just mentioned, they can all contribute significantly to an organization’s sustainability, and many of these benefits arise from the process of building a brand.

Hopefully I have clarified just a little bit how the benefits of building a brand extend out to much more than simply general marketing and advertising. This is not an exhaustive list of all the brand benefits, there are more reasons as to why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, but it would require me to write a book on it, which may be an upcoming project. We’ve all heard the proverb: “Work smarter, not harder.” I believe in both working hard and working smart, and building a brand is the smart thing to do. Is it a requirement to build a brand to stay in business? No, it’s just harder. Is it a requirement to build a brand to be a great organization? I can confidently say that the answer is an emphatic yes! In order to build a great organization, building a brand is a minimum requirement.

Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?

My philosophy is that there really is only one reason to consider rebranding, when the business reasons require your organization to signal a change in your strategic direction. What this means is that the organization is essentially letting the world know that there has been a significant change in the way they do business. What type of change? A company could consider rebranding in order to signal that the organization has repositioned or changed markets. Perhaps there is a need to signal that the organization has a new business strategy and a new brand promise, perhaps with new products & services. There may be a need to signal that there was a merger or an acquisition, now needing to align the new brand portfolio in order to create internal brand alignment, alignment with customer perceptions, and alignment of the customer experience throughout the newly formed organizations. There may be a need to signal that they are ready to go international, at times changing names or visuals based on cultural, competitive or regulatory considerations. There may be a need to signal that it has modernized the way it does business, usually in the form of eliminating outdated visuals, updating machinery, processes, and strategies. There may be a need to signal that it will rebuild it’s reputation under a new name and image, usually followed through with a serious commitment to improving previous mistakes. There may be a need to signal that it is differentiating itself from another closely related competitor, at times done to avoid copyright violation lawsuits and legal injuries.

I must say, the term “rebranding” has a very curious problem. Due to globalization, the internet and the popularity and accessability of Photoshop, rebranding has entered the popular lexicon while being highly misunderstood. Many tend to gravely oversimplify what rebranding is and are not familiar with what a proper rebrand entails, nor the business considerations that underly it. In other words, the tendency is to conflate bad rebrands with good ones, as if they were they same. The tendency is to mentally shortcut and conflate a rebrand as if it were the same as getting a snazzy new logo by an amateur, self-proclaimed graphic designer on a certain low quality online platforms. Popular conceptions of rebranding are wildly misled because they tend to focus on the least important aspects of rebranding, the aesthetics or visuals, while failing to take into consideration the most important aspects of rebranding, the why of the complex business reasons driving it forward.

Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?

Let’s keep in mind that rebranding is not some creative artistic endeavor, it’s part of a strategic business process, and like any other important strategic business decisions there can be potential downsides. Rebranding can go wrong when it is enacted for the wrong reasons or when it fails to address the real issues that need to be solved. Once again, brand is considered by many business leaders as being an organization’s most valuable strategic asset. If a rebranding initiative is not carefully strategized, valuable brand equity can be wasted or destroyed, which can significantly affect business performance.

I would, and have, advised certain companies to not proceed with a “brand makeover”. Just as a side note, I’m not in love with the term “brand makeover” because it lends itself to oversimplification and confusion, making the rebranding process seem mainly aesthetic, when in reality it is mainly strategic. I’ve helped many Directors, CEO’s, marketing directors, and business owners over the years, and I often hear many reasons why an organization wants to rebrand, but I’ve found that many of those reasons are simply invalid and can even sabotage a rebranding initiative. Assertions like “we just need a refresh” or “we need a better logo” are quite popular assertions, but they carry inside of them a fatal flaw — they are not reasons at all, they are only subjective descriptions of superficial symptoms, and in reality externalize the fact that there exists a deeper, unarticulated root problem in the organization that is either unknown or is being ignored. When I hear these types of superficial assertions, it becomes immediately clear that there is a need to find and understand the underlying root that is driving the change in strategic direction.

Logic tells us that knowing the problem is the first step in solving the problem. This can be very challenging for company insiders since it requires being able to see things from a different perspective, an objective outsider’s perspective. Sometimes I’m brought into an organization as a consultant for the sole purpose of separating the real issue from the illusory issues, or to separate the critical issue from the non-critical issues. This problem solving and analysis of root causes can help to prepare the groundwork for executing a rebrand successfully, addressing the real and important issues driving the strategic change.

Another cautionary tale, many organizations leave it up to their graphic designers to determine whether a rebrand is needed, but this can be a big mistake. If they are not familiar with brand management or brand strategy, the graphic designers may most likely see themselves as artists. Why is this a problem? Because art can exist for art’s sake, ars gratia artis, without any overarching purpose, without regard to any business objectives. Both branding and rebranding do not function in this way, their purpose is to consider and drive forward the business objectives and should be decided upon based on compelling business reasons. Similarly, rebranding should not be evoked in order to satisfy the subjective whims of a business owner, director, CEO, marketing director or graphic designer. Rebranding can be a transformative business move, it simply must be done thoughtfully.

OK, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.

Deliver your brand promise throughout your entire organization. Many businesses focus on transmitting messages through advertising, yet neglect more important aspects of message transmission, like the customer experience. Great brands make a commitment to understanding and delivering their brand promise at every customer interaction point in every department of the organization, via corporate brand awareness and personal brand awareness. Brands do not spring up accidentally from holes in the ground, they are strategically designed, and every single point of the customer experience needs to be designed and optimize to deliver the brand promise. Do this to keep your organization’s reputation better than your competitors, keep your customers happy and coming back for more, and keep your revenues increasing.

Be customer-centric, not product-centric. I’m always surprised when I talk to business owners that still insist on operating their businesses in a completely product-centric way, completely focused on advertising features and discounts. When I inquire as to who their customers are, I get blank stares. “The customer is the boss” said A G Lafley, CEO of the multi-billion dollar Proctor and Gamble, one of the most celebrated CEOs in history. Product-centric businesses focus on delivering products and filling only tangible needs, as if it were 1985. Customer-centric brands focus on providing products plus experiences and fill both tangible & intangible needs. Contemporary customers want a great quality product, they want a pleasant experience, they want to know they’re getting great value, they want to be pleasantly surprised, they want to experience shareable moments, they want to be part of a like-minded community, they want to feel that they are contributing toward making the world a better place, they want to feel appreciated, they want to feel cared for, they want to feel peace of mind, etc. Let’s get to know our customers more intimately, not just collect giant data sets that are later misinterpreted and hacked. They’re the ones with the purchasing power and they’re looking for organizations to give their financial resources to, and they will be more likely to choose the brand that puts them at the center. Want to build a great brand? Great brands are customer-centric.

Modernize your image. If your brand identity looks outdated, it is outdated. Your customers, competitors, and potential strategic partners could get the idea that your business looks outdated because it operates in an outdated way with outdated tools and outdated processes that may not be the best choice for them anymore. It’s a simple case of psychological association. If I say “tomato”, you might immediately think of “red, round, and ketchup”. These concepts follow in your mind instantaneously because they are closely related to “tomato”. If people, when thinking of your organization, think “outdated”, you can be assured that other negative concepts like “irrelevant, old, and substandard” will likely pop into their mind as well. This can especially impact organizations where customers expect you to be up to date with the latest in tech advances, such as in science and technology, where outdated is an instant buzz kill. Upgrade your brand image by bringing it up to today’s visual standards, it’s a way of getting your customers to understand that you’re on the ball and that you have a renewed commitment to your brand.

Have the courage to innovate. Innovation can re-energize a brand when it’s nurtured and allowed to develop. No one wants the same old thing all the time. Here’s some news for you, if you don’t innovate, one of your competitors will. Here’s a little story that happened to me several years ago. I did some work for an company in California that was in market that had been stagnant for around 5 years, offering the same old thing year after year. This company had also fallen prey to comfortable stagnation and had managed to marginalize the only other creative thinker they had left. One of the first observations I made when I did some research in the front lines was that I noticed, literally on day one, that there was a product that their audience really wanted but nobody was creating. Again, I noticed this on day one. I brought it to the CEO, who seemed fairly level-headed and intelligent, I was surprised to get as a response: “That’s not the way this market works.” I was quite shocked, since this unfulfilled customer need seemed pretty obvious to me …but maybe he was right, I thought, maybe I just didn’t understand the market yet.
Fast forward a few months, I’m still doing some work for this company. The other creative thinker and myself were discussing the future of the industry and potential applications and possible extensions of the existing brand portfolio into other theoretical domains, and we begin to discuss the seemingly obvious question “what really is the product that’s being sold here?”. It was at that moment that suddenly everything clicked, the need I had observed on day one now connected clearly with the new understanding of what the product really was. It was a breakthrough, we had just discovered the next major disruptive innovation for that market! I called a meeting with the CEO and proceeded to explained the situation and the potential implications and benefits, again I was surprised to get as a response: “That’s not the way this market works.” He then proceeded to belittle me and my lack of formal education. I was flabbergasted since everything seemed to me to be pointing in that direction. Fast forward another several months, the company’s strongest competitor launched a new product they were claiming was innovative, and it turned out to be virtually identical to the disruptive new product application I was discussing months earlier behind closed doors. The result? The new product completely disrupted the industry and the market shifted. This competitor company, by launching this innovative product, essentially supplanted 80% of their competitors products within around 6 months, because there was no need for the old products anymore, there was now a far superior option on the market. That was the first time I had helped uncover insights that led to an opportunity for disruptive innovation, and I was correct! The moral of the story, listen to your people. This company had the future under their very nose but was too arrogant and mentally inflexible to know it. Get your existing team to contribute ideas, hire new thinkers to get different perspectives. Again quoting A G Lafley, CEO of the multi-billion dollar Proctor and Gamble, “Innovation is everyone’s job.” Re-energize your brand by having the courage to innovate, before your competitors do.

Be authentic. I was working with a company recently that used a particular phrase as its brand promise. The problem? It was really nothing more than an inauthentic sales pitch to try to trick their customers into believing that they actually cared. This doesn’t work, don’t be that guy. Consumers are more sophisticated than ever before, they can smell a lack of authenticity, and they now have the internet at their fingertips, and the power of social media, and the power to penalize brands and publish to the whole world if you’re being fake. The solution? Be authentic, be real, and actually live your brand promise. The benefits include real humanized connections with your audience, leading to loyal fans, higher sales and tons of repeat business.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

In late 2018, DuPont revealed a new brand identity. I quite liked the old logo, but the new brand identity is much bolder, the look better identifies DuPont in its market position, making a bold statement of where it currently is and certainly also making a bold promise for maintaining its positioning in the future. Perhaps it’s just me, but in the new brand identity I see an homage to DuPont’s early history. DuPont had it’s genesis as a chemistry and material-science company, initially producing explosives, gunpowder in particular. Soon thereafter DuPont famously invented well-known polymers such as Neoprene, Nylon, Teflon and Kevlar. What is often not commonly known is that DuPont was a key player in the now infamous Manhattan Project which brought the world its first nuclear weapons. DuPont had graduated from synthetic rubbers to plutonium production. What I saw right away in the new DuPont logo refresh is a bomb internally powered by DuPont chemistry. Although it may be unlikely that this is the exact visual desired to be included in their new brand identity, as a bit of a history buff myself, it’s what I saw at first glance. The refreshed DuPont logo visually implies order, structure, and stability. It seems to have a nice footprint and a silhouette that allows it to be versatile across traditional and digital mediums, company-wide and across continents. The typeface chosen also carries in it the interesting dichotomy of both modernism and heritage, pleasingly reminiscent of a conservative Art Deco sans-serif typeface. The ends of the logo mark also cleverly serve as visual elements that can be utilized in branding efforts independently from the totality of the logo mark. The new DuPont identity is bold, simple and appropriate, keeping its brand identity memorable while preserving the long-standing brand equity that keeps it contemporary and further making bold promises for the future.

In order to replicate the success of a brand makeover like that of the DuPont brand identity refresh, one must have a crystal clear idea of what the company stands for, a clear understanding of its heritage and a clear understanding of its trajectory into the future. I help craft vision and mission statements as well, and these can go a long way in helping to encapsulate the essence of an organization’s goals and future trajectory. This particular brand identity refresh wasn’t particularly dramatic in nature, and this is an important factor that I want to emphasize. Rebrands need not be complete makeovers. That’s why I like the latest DuPont rebrand so much, because it maintains its basic shape, effectively and intelligently conserving valuable brand equity, and makes nuanced yet bold adjustments that don’t change the look, but instead change the feel of the brand identity, all while simultaneously preserving heritage. Brilliant!

DuPont is a $130 billion empire, and even though the changes in the brand identity were subtle and nuanced I can guarantee that the rebrand was taken very seriously and was treated as a million dollar investment. My advice to you if you are thinking of a potential rebrand, don’t skimp. Don’t resort to logo contests, my goodness they make me cringe. Logo contests are possibly the worst way to rebrand, because it’s really just a pretend rebrand. Look for professional graphic designers with understanding of brand strategy, or hire a creative agency or brand consultancy that know how to build brands and understand the business implications.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We’re in a time where institutions have become hyper-rigid and have become more focused on their own self preservation rather than on the advancement of new ideas. If I could inspire a movement it would be a movement to unite more heterodox iconoclasts, neurodivergent, multi-disciplinarians, outliers and unorthodox thinkers for participation in frank global discussions of new ideas. As I mentioned earlier, the greatest breakthroughs in history are always brought about by outliers. Like the experience I related earlier, I’ve experienced my own share of being marginalized and belittled for expressing unorthodox ideas, only to later have my ideas proven to be correct, ideas that would have been very beneficial, but instead were squelched by those with a lack of vision and insight. Iconoclasts like myself need a new kind of platform where we can discuss revolutionary ideas and connect with those that would like to see them tested, improved and implemented for the benefit of all mankind.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ― Dr. Seuss.
I have proven the veracity of this quote in my own life. Countless times I have discovered that simple straightforward answers can be found under giant piles of clumsily used phrases, misunderstood terminology and technical jargon. I didn’t fit well into the mold the public school system made for me, and I thought I was the problem. I grew up thinking I was pretty dumb and that I wouldn’t be able to learn much. I had questions, but I got strange answers. I had doubts, but when expressed I received condemnations. I knew it was very possible, even likely, that the problem was simply me. On the other hand I also began to suspect early on that there was a possibility, however small, that I wasn’t the problem and that I was surrounded by a form of mass delusion. So I started to research and reading, not just watching Youtube videos. I have a collection of the world’s most influential books in my library, from Herodotus to Plato, Marcus Aurelius to Bacon, Hegel to Dostoevsky, and many more. One of my deepest realizations was that of understanding that we in fact live in a type of analog to Plato’s cave, where, like the Dr Seuss quote implies, simple things are occulted and confused by things that only appear complex. It’s quite similar when thinking of rebranding and building brands. Once the needed steps are clarified and understood, the main ideas are actually quite simple. I have found that what makes things difficult sometimes is that some simple things can have several facets to them, giving them an appearance of complexity. This is where many find it challenging, keeping track of many simple variables that appear intimidatingly complex.

Many complex ideas have very simple premises that underly them, and many seemingly unrelated ideas have very simple and related interconnections that tie them together. Having enough general knowledge of multiple domains allows one to see how the dots connect, even when others cannot see the interconnections, usually because their vision is overly narrow or hyper-focused. This is one of the ways I am able to see future trends, new innovative solutions and non-obvious insights and opportunities. Combined with my proven methodology for complex problem solving and for brand building, I’m ready for anything.

How can our readers follow you online?

My website is at http://archimedes.agency. You can follow me on LinkedIn at http://linkedin.com/in/bryanjimenez, on Twitter at @BryanJimenezSC, and on Instagram @archimedes_branding. You can hear my podcast at http://anchor.fm/the-archimedes-effect or simply search for The Archimedes Effect with Bryan Jimenez on your favorite podcast platform.

Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.

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