I had never heard of Scott Bedbury before reading his book, A New Brand World. My guess is that you haven’t heard of him either – but you have heard of Nike and Starbucks. Before writing this book on establishing brands, Bedbury was at the core of the Nike and Starbucks promotional efforts.  In fact, he was in the room when the “Just Do It” campaign was introduced.

A New Brand World

The principles offered in A Brand New World are:

  1. Relying on brand awareness has become marketing fool’s gold – smart brands are more concerned with brand relevancy and brand resonance.
  2. You have to know it before you can grow it – most brands don’t know who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going.
  3. Always remember the Spandex rule of brand expansion – just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  4. Great brands establish enduring customer relationships – that have more to do with emotions and trust then with footwear cushioning or the way a coffee bean is roasted.
  5. Everything matters – even your restroom.
  6. All brands need good parents – unfortunately most brands come from troubled homes.
  7. Big is no excuse for being bad – truly great brands use their superhuman powers for good and place people and principles before profits.
  8. Relevance, simplicity, and humanity – rather than technology – will distinguish brands in the future.

A New Brand World explores how companies like Nike and Starbucks achieved success as well as studies countless others.  For me, one of the most important takeaways was that you need to “crack your brand’s genetic code” to grow your brand.  In other words, you have to be able to tap into an essence that defines who you are to the people who matter – core followers, potential followers, and employees or volunteers.

Bedbury also emphasizes how important overall branding and image are. He reminisces on his time at Starbucks saying, “Branding is about taking something common and improving upon it in ways that make it more valuable and meaningful.  A coffee bean is just a coffee bean until someone like Howard Schultz and Starbucks comes along, and creates from it a branded product.”

Scott Bedbury

Scott Bedbury

Bedbury founded his own agency, Brandstream, in 1998.

The strategies discussed in A New Brand World can be applied to individuals, nonprofits, and corporations. I highly recommend this read not only because of its helpful approaches, but also because it is smartly written and entertaining.

This is the first in a new series of book club reviews by Too Good Strategy team members.