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Think Beyond the Brand
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There’s “think outside the box,” and “stay true to the brand," but are there times when these two thoughts need to be combined to make sure brands are focusing less on their brand and more on ideas that are unexpected but needed? This is about removing the constraints on what is accepted within the brand’s world and taking a holistic view on what the brand can do within its current industry or even a different one. It’s not very brand friendly, but it can prove to accelerate a brand’s success.

Most brands talk about ideating big and creating strategies that no other brand has thought of to date. However, much of this is just that — talk. Brands are strategizing within the realms of their own business worlds and forget to completely take down the walls, become a customer, and visualize what makes their world better, easier, faster, etc. Microsoft was known to be one of these companies. The brand wanted big ideas and new products, but only if these breakthroughs were tied to increasing profits for the Windows and Office products. So that’s not exactly outside of the box. Those are not really big ideas but more of a constrained and directed idea session.

Brands need to take a look at how strategy begins and their freedom to create big ideas. Are there walls that need to be broken and rules that need to be ignored in order for a brand to reach success? Microsoft has seen the light. The brand created a research division separate from any product group where minds are forced to run free. There’s no talk about tying to strategy but a focus on what will make a better brand: the next big idea.

It might seem like a lot of talk, but there’s an important lesson. Is a brand its own worst enemy? Is it strong enough to get out of its own way and create? This applies to both big ideas and small ones and the flexibility a brand has over where the business goes in the future. So break walls, ignore rules, and think big (or small).

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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