Interview Transcript

How do you look at the big challenge today? As you said, there’s so many different channels. You can communicate with that consumer in many different ways that it gets quite fuzzy and complex. Brands do seem to get lost, sometimes, I feel, where their message is not coherent across all different channels. What do you think is the biggest mistake they make?

Number one, not putting themselves in the head of the consumer. Not having gone through the brand work and defining the brand pillars, tenets, DNA, whatever you want to call them. And, if they have, not sticking to them. And have your really done the work and not just, what I call, a word salad. I get these PowerPoint decks, on a regular basis and I will go through them and I will circle words; I love to do this. Out of the 50 words, if you split them into two groups, they are completely incompatible. Almost the opposite and it just becomes these empty words that anyone can use and the, half the time, don’t ladder back to a very specific image. You’re trying to create an image, in someone’s mind. A feeling, some emotional attachment and if you don’t say it, show it, do it, over and over and over again. Good luck cutting through the noise.

If you put yourself into the mindset of the consumer and you say, I want to make it as easy as possible for them to understand exactly who I am, then you are going to approach everything that you do – whether it’s a sponsorship, a collaboration, an influencer that you engage with, a photographer that you shoot with, a charity you donate to – really thinking through, do they reflect your own brand tenets, brand pillars? How many boxes can you check off when you’re looking at the criteria. You use these as criteria, to decide every aspect, whether it’s a hang tag or it’s something as big as an ad campaign. You have to go through this exercise.

I don’t know, if today, there just isn’t the knowledge, the experience; perhaps it’s so democratic, they think it doesn’t matter. Name, for me, any brand today, such as Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Hermès, Cartier, these brands are all built on this same concept of brand promise. Whether it was, in the early 1900s, to today.

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