Over twenty years ago, when The Smithsonian asked to add our original Living Brand model to their archives, we knew we had the right approach (building an empathetic relationship), but we wanted to dig deeper. What did successful brands do specifically that helped them achieve success?
Fundamentally, we learned that successful brands simply approach business in a different way from run-of-the-mill companies: they fundamentally believe their mission is to not just build a company, but to build a brand.
After studying hundreds of companies, we isolated these factors, then put them into practice with our own clients. As a result, we determined there were ten things that separated successful brands from also-rans.
Because of the unique strength they provided companies that put them into practice, we called these ten principles “superpowers” (or “powers” for short). Living Brand superpowers are easy to learn; the list is below.
The real challenge lies in how you properly put them into practice. After working with dozens of companies to do this, we have a unique approach to defining which powers would be most effective for a client. It may be a single power, such as how we leveraged Intelligence for Hitachi. Most often, it is using a mix of powers so each strengthens and reinforces the other so the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A good example of that is the work we did with Gaia.
What Are The Superpowers?
Most simply, superpowers are factors that a company may want to be known for that are used to better connect with their audiences. They are the unique identifying code that resonates with a brand when it is mentioned. Your work is to nurture your superpower(s) to synch with your genuine nature, then leverage these strengths in order to optimally connect with your audience.
The ten superpowers are:
- Authenticity: Do you tap into the genuine nature of your brand and values with the intent to never go contrary to what it stands for? Is your brand original in delivery and not a clone of other pre-existing brands?
- Integrity: Do you and your team behave in a way that is consistent with your authentic brand values? Are your moral principles incorruptible?
- Distinction: Can you be easily distinguished from your competition by your words, images, standards and behavior? Are you different in nature and delivery as compared to other brands in your field?
- Relevance: Are you current and pertinent to your target markets’ real interests/ needs? Are you participating in their zeitgeist? Is your brand responding directly to their requirements?
- Vibrance: Do you live your brand? Do your actions demonstrate that you are engaged, energetic and dynamic? Are you actively seeking opportunities to connect with your target markets in ways that allow you to bring your values to life?
- Intelligence: Are you thoughtfully participating in and leading the conversation, making everyone better and wiser from the contributions you make? Do you generate valuable insights to make their lives better?
- Generosity: Are you truly making a contribution that benefits your customers, your community or your industry?
- Value: Is your brand worth your constituents’ time, and money? Is it worth foregoing other competitors in the same business?
- Consistency: Do you only do things that align with your consistent and distinct brand and never go contrary to what it stands for?
- Resilience: Can your brand’s principles withstand or recover quickly from the test of time and remain steadfast and dependable over the years? Or will they fade away at the slightest sign of trouble on the horizon?
Tapping into your superpowers is just the start of your journey; the long-term key to success is how your use your powers to positively affect your key audiences at every touchpoint. That is where we can help you. Our decades of experience helping companies discover their superpowers and bring them to life can be a tremendous jump-start in improving both your marketing and overall business performance. We’d enjoy exploring how we might help you on the path to success. Give us a call today!