Ideas + Insights

The single biggest reason why brands flop

Tess Robinson

When I was in year 6, we were allocated Kindergarten buddies to look after. Before their school year started, we were asked to write them a letter welcoming them. Now, most of my peers typed something up, set it in comic sans, and maybe, if they were feeling creative, added one of those cool palm-tree borders off Microsoft word. Me? I spent a whole Saturday hand-painting envelopes in rainbow watercolours. It took me about 10 goes and hours of work, because the colours kept running into each other, but I would do it over and over again until it was perfect.

My family also used to be puzzle people. We’d do landscapes, animals, you name it. Once, we did an Olympic Games one, that featured 20 of the most popular Olympic posters of all time. When we were finished, it got framed and hung in our lounge room. As a 10-year-old, I would often go down and just look at it, cause I LOVED IT.

It’s things like this that I look back on and think, yeah, I was probably always meant to be a designer. I mean, what 10-year-old likes looking at 70s typography? I don’t think I’d be as successful or as happy if I wasn’t working in a career that stemmed from weird 10-year-old hobbies.

The single biggest reason brands flop? Because their founders don’t start the brand from their heart.

Nike? Started by a track athlete and his coach.

Facebook? A kinda anti-social guy who wanted some friends.

Weight Watchers? “An overweight housewife with a self-confessed obsession for eating cookies,” (Google’s words, not mine).

Seeing a theme? Passion = Success. Apathy = flop.

So, if you want to be the brand that is the un-flop, the un-bomb, the un-fizzleout maybe it’s time to #justdoyouboo

Know who you are, or who you want to be

You’re never gonna be happy if you’re trying to build something that someone else has. Your brand has got to come from you (or in the weight watches ladies case, what you want to be).

“It’s just a job” has got to go

Entrepreneurship is a 24/7 (more like 25/8) job. If you start your brand thinking you’re going to be able to clock off at 5 pm and not think about it until 9 am the next day, you’re kidding yourself. But, if you have passion and heart for what you’re doing this won’t be a burden, it’ll be motivating.

Put some gasoline on the fire

I would put millions of dollars (if I had it) on the fact that no-one wakes up every. Single. Day 100% pumped on life, work and their business. Life happens, and passion waynes. But fires can be re-built, they’ve just gotta be looked after. If you wish you had that just-started-out glint in your eye and unshakeable faith maybe you need some good old inspiration. If Tony Robbins isn’t quite your cup of tea, look to industry events, podcasts, what makes you come alive and get that passion stirred again.

It’s doing things from the heart that means even on the day’s that aren’t great – you still don’t want to quit it all and move to Europe because deep down, at the core of it all, you love what you do and the brand you’ve built. For me, even when clients are being a punish or I wish I just worked at Maccas, I remind myself that I kinda paint rainbow envelopes for a living, and that’s pretty cool.

Image Credit: Brian Khek

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