When building brands, uncertain times call for unexpected solutions. But while brand business leaders are under renewed pressure to be more agile, entrepreneurial and innovative, it isn’t always that easy to turn around ways of working.
So, what can we learn from the brand founder mindset to help inspire effective creativity and productivity?
All too often, the processes we put in place to create efficiencies end up causing more problems than they solve. Formalised ways of working can lead to formulaic and uninspiring briefs, while traditional success metrics favour risk-averse solutions and can run counter to positive change.
Brand founders and entrepreneurs rarely run into such problems. The drive to tackle new and different challenges on a daily basis in the service of a bigger, more motivating vision, demands bespoke thinking and fast decision-making, with no room for standardised processes or comfort-zone familiarity.
The clearer a founder’s vision, the more collaborative the journey to get there can be. Having been fortunate enough to work closely with a number of inspirational brand founders, it is inspiring to see how focused they are on a single-minded ambition. An ambition to create something better, and braver. Each step taken to bring their vision to life is a tangible building block to making it happen.
When looking to get exciting and effective ideas out into the world at pace, adopting a brand founder mindset could be key to helping unlock your inner entrepreneur.
The freedom of informality
Founders always have a vision, but they rarely have a clear-cut brief. This potential vagueness actually offers opportunity. Opportunity to figure things out together with collaborative partners, to enable people to talk properly, outside of the confines of a formal brief, and to do so before key decisions have been made. Taking the time to air your challenges with a trusted partner is a far more valuable use of time than trying to second-guess the solution. Founders understand the truism that a problem shared is a problem halved.
The magic of chemistry
For small businesses with big ambitions, collaboration is essential to getting things done. And successful collaborations depend on trust and chemistry. Founders seek out like-minded partners who are passionate about the same things they are. For entrepreneurs, building a brand and a business can be a deeply emotional and personal process, so establishing meaningful relationships with the people that can help make that business better is key to their enduring success.
Belief in the power of creativity
New to market and often with limited awareness, marketing reach and budget, founder-led brands understand the value of a single-minded and powerful creative idea that continues to deliver. Getting the big brand idea right – at the point of brand creation – creates a platform for ongoing communications with clear guidance for tone, message and aesthetic, saving untold hours of rebriefs that continually reinvent the wheel. And this doesn’t just hold true for brand creations: the beautifully simple #lookslikeguinness idea has lent itself to all manner of marketing from TV to OOH consumer generated digital content – an effortless idea working exceptionally hard.
The value of instinct
Building in adequate time for decision-making is key to any timeline, but it’s not uncommon for indecision to cause major project delays. Whether it’s layers of stakeholders, a lack of clarity on decision-making criteria, or an insistence on passing everything past a focus group, this hesitancy can kill the momentum of a project. Entrepreneurs are skilled at making quick, potentially risky, decisions based on intuition and gut instinct. They are willing and able to take a leap of faith because their belief in the vision, and the people helping them get there, is stronger than other people’s doubts. Passion and optimisim go hand in hand.
The meaning of success
The beauty of being a founder is being able to measure success in the ways that are most meaningful to you. Of course, traditional success metrics are an inevitable part of doing business in today’s society, but for many entrepreneurs profit is only one part of the plan. And having the freedom to progress ideas that are designed to benefit people’s health and wellbeing, positively impact the planet, or encourage constructive change, isn’t just a nice to have – it often becomes the driving purpose that can turn a business around. It seems that the more we think about success in untraditional ways, the more traditional success simply follows.
As we enter a world that requires better ways of doing business, with creativity at the core, these traits, common in the brand founder mindset have never been more key.
Cover image source: Taranukhin Alex