Can you guess the most powerful brand in the world today?


downloadWhat is the most powerful brand in the world?  Is it Apple, or Nike or, the new kid on the block Twitter?

In a surprising result, the 2015 Brand Finance report has revealed that the most powerful global brand is Lego.  Apple is number one in terms of brand value, but Lego has replaced Ferrari in the number one spot as the most powerful brand in the world.  You might think Lego has it easy: what’s not to love about it?  It has broad global and cross-generational appeal.  Lego also appeals across gender.  The hugely successful Lego movie, which was both a commercial and critical success, also massively boosted the brand’s popularity.

But there are three lessons we can all learn from Lego’s success.

Lego allows its customers to create.  Of course they deal with toys, you mock!  But no matter what you do, how can you help your customers live your brand experience and co-create with you? Can they submit their videos, as Red Bull fans do, or publish recipes that use your products? Creation builds communities of fans.

Lego taps into nostalgia.  What is your favourite Lego memory? Our favourite brands tap into an emotion: what emotion does your brand tap into?

And finally, Lego is number one because of the reputation and goodwill it brings.  Nothing beats reputation.

No matter what you do in business, whether you are a leader, a changemaker or an entrepreneur, these three principles can help you build your personal brand.  Allow your customers and team members to co-create with you; tap into emotion to make people care about your messages, and finally, it all comes down to your reputation – in business and in life.

Please comment – I love hearing from you.

The dress that broke the internet


Last week the internet divided into two vociferous factions – all over the colour of a dress!  Not since Monica Lewinsky’s infamous blue dress has a dress generated so much controversy.

About 70% of people declared empathically that the dress was white and gold.  They took solace in two things: it felt right and how could so many people be wrong?  An equally vocal 30% of people were emphatic the dress was black and blue.  Even scientists weighed into the debate, which began trending under #thedress, and received huge mainstream and social media coverage that would be the envy of any PR company.

It looked like the global population was getting entrenched into two camps (actually, there was a third camp: those who were sooo over it).  For anyone seeking nirvana under a banyan tree in a no-Wi-Fi zone last week who missed the headlines all over the world, the dress turned out to be black and blue.

But what happened next in “dressgate” was sheer genius.  The Salvation Army in South Africa took a picture of the dress and asked on Twitter: ‘Why is it so hard to see black and blue?’   The image depicted a beautiful battered model in the dress.

The charity took a fun, frivolous issue and made a profound, succinct statement about an issue close to its heart: domestic violence. It’s a great example of brave, responsive storytelling that shines new light on a pervasive problem.

As news editor Lauren Tuck noted ‘Domestic violence is a serious issue that deserves the same kind of fevered attention that was paid to #thedress’. 

Please comment, I love hearing from you.

What really matters in business?


downloadI have a confession to make.  I have become addicted to the Australian series of Shark Tank.  It’s a master class in negotiation, pitching and influence all rolled into one!

Shark Tank is where budding entrepreneurs pitch to potential investors known as sharks.  The sharks decide whether to invest and negotiate deals for equity and capital.

It is reality TV so it’s high drama!  But what makes it work is the sharks, who are all successful business people in their right.  They impart insight and business news that is sometimes brutal, but often priceless.  So in the wheeling and dealing that makes up business what matters?  Is it quality of the idea, the execution or the business plan?  This is what has emerged over the past few episodes:

People buy people   
In one preview, real estate entrepreneur John McGrath bluntly tells a candidate: “I can’t invest in you.” When you are pitching, presenting, or leading, ask yourself: would people invest in you?  This is about personal credibility and believability.   The wisdom out of Silicon Valley echoes this: venture capitalists say they invest in the founder as much as in the idea.

Get out of the passion prison
The sharks are totally unimpressed by passion, and the show is littered with passionate entrepreneurs who did not make the cut.  What the investors look for in addition to passion is commitment, some level of execution and persistence.

Show – don’t just tell
One unsuccessful contestant was talking about a software product without any sort of demonstration.  One of the most successful pitches was  Adam Riley with a foldable electric skateboard.  Janine Allis one of the judges even used it on the spot and it worked perfectly.  Adam had all the sharks battling each other to invest.  The more real you can make your idea the better. Showing a prototype, and moving abstraction into reality, makes it easier for people to be persuaded.

So how can you use these principles in your next pitch, your next meeting, or when the stakes are high at work?  Please comment – I love hearing from you.