Are you building a classic brand?

Classic3

On a tour of the wonderful Vitra Design Campus last year in Germany, I came upon this perfect little definition of what it means for something to be classic. It’s by Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra Chairman Emeritus.

Of course, he’s referring to “classic” in the context of design. But I think it works as a simple and powerful philosophy for your own brand or organization. Brands built around a unique product or service, brands built upon honesty and passion, brands that lead rather than follow, and brands that stand for something beyond the trend of the day.

What is a “classic”

“A classic is not a classic from the very beginning. It starts by breaking the mould. It doesn’t become a classic by confirming to established norms; instead, it questions these established norms. A classic becomes a classic because it wins the battle; first against the products that already exist and then against all of the new products that it must beat out. A classic comes from a different era and yet is contemporary and current. It is iconic without trying to be iconic. It has the qualities of a piece of art without trying to be art. It is forever fresh. When it was presented for the first time, it was new – and it will stay new until another product breaks the mould and challenges it and questions the established norms. It is important to Vitra to produce these outstanding products from the past until they are no longer relevant. At the same time, we develop products together with the most talented people of our age – in the hope that one of them will one day become a classic”

Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra Chairman Emeritus.

Advertisements

Shrinking the change

This is perhaps one of the best and simplest description of how to achieve effective behaviour change through social marketing. In my work with many health promotion organizations and brands, it reflects an overall philosophy that is about reducing the barriers to change, and using genuine insights about how people think and act.

As laid out beautifully in this little story, three simple steps are needed:

1. you need to show people the path. What’s the end goal that they need to reach

2. you need to motivate people to want to take the journey toward change

3. And most importantly, you need to remove the barriers to change

Without tackling all these in parallel, successful change becomes less likely. These three steps work together in careful harmony, yet many organizations sometimes struggle to see how they work together. Often this can result in an over-emphasis on awareness building, or alternatively, an over-emphasis on tactics.

Ultimately you need to appeal to people’s emotions, and then work hard to remove the barriers along the way. One without the other dramatically reduces your chances of long term success

Top 9 Sunday Reads – #11

It’s been a while, but here’s a few stories, ideas and links that have grabbed my attention over the last little while

1. A great little nudge that could help change behaviour by changing habits. Called Car Mode, it’s a brilliantly simple concept that I hope Apple will embrace and make happen.

2. A lovely idea from Ikea and their agency (SMFB) in Oslo. The “Built to Last” campaign helps to overcome the perception that their furniture is tasteful but cheap, while also communicating a positive sustainability message.

3. A bit of fun from Ellen in honour of The Great American Smokeout.

4. A new series of  blog posts from The Guardian on the science behind behaviour change. Via the Guardian Sustainable Business division

5. A beautifully illustrated version of the Terry Gross interview with Maurice Sendak not long before his death.

 

6. This is a short but wonderful article again from The Guardian about the importance of harnessing passion and emotion, and driving it toward action. Life will always get in the way, so we must always help people navigate through the day to day challenges they face, and make the desired behaviour as easy as possible. We must shrink the change at all costs.

7. Wonderful video by GoldieBlox that is popping up on news feeds everywhere. They make engineering toys for girls.

 

8. A random bit of brilliance from Banksy that packs a punch – Sirens of the Lambs

 

9. More great storytelling from Google – as always, a reminder of the irresistible power of a good story.