Monday, 20 August 2012

Good foundations

If you're looking for stories about your brand to imbue it with substance and authenticity, you can do worse than look back at the person or people who founded it. More often than not, you should be able to trace back to the original idea or purpose that launched the brand, which may be more interesting than whatever is currently written on the brand's Mission Statement.

Many brands are unthinkable without their founders - Steve Jobs and Apple, for example, or IKEA and Ingvar Kamprad, whose initials give the first two letters of the brand acronym and whose legendary cost-consciousness pervades the IKEA ethos.

Even under Unilever ownership, the names and personalities of Ben (Cohen) and Jerry (Greenfield) and the Vermont provenance drive the premium ice-cream brand.

Another example is what Guinness is doing. Arguably already one of the world's strongest and story-rich brands, Guinness has established "Arthur's Day" in honour of the founder, Arthur Guinness. Until 3 years ago, Arthur Guinness was a signature on the label and no more, but the 27th September is now designated as a day to "paint the town black" amid musical performance and celebration - to the benefit of the Arthur Guinness Fund for social good.

And the advertising comes from Saatchi & Saatchi, an agency who knows more about the strength of founders' names than most, even if the founders in question have moved on.

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