Learning from the best brands

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Every global brand we recognise today started from humble beginnings. Whether it was the earliest days of Apple in a garage on Crist Drive, or Phil Knight hawking his trainers, brands take years to get off the ground, and even longer to become cultural icons.

So what can we learn from them? And what can we easily emulate? Here are five simple tricks that five big brands get right.

Apple – Simplicity

When Apple reinvented the smartphone in 2007 they were unveiling a do-it-all companion, but they worked hard not to overcomplicate the message.

They resisted the urge to extol every benefit of this impressive machine in their ads. Instead, they kept the message simple in the extreme and let our imaginations fill in the blanks. Jobs knew what he wanted to say, and he said it in the simplest language possible.

Backed by the now-famous slogan, Think Different, Apple played up the iPhone’s ability to make your life easier – not more complicated.

Nike – Product endorsements

Nike has always understood celebrity appeal. That’s why the world’s most famous athletes wear the famous tick, and it’s why Michael Jordan and Kanye West have designed their own shoe ranges in the past.

Nike encourages celebrity participation unlike any other sports and apparel entity.

Realistically, no small brand can fork out millions to do the same, but the Nike equation demonstrates a truism: we should make the most of our network.

Find lesser-known celebrities that appeal to your market and reach out to them. Chances are you can strike a win-win deal at no cost to your brand.

Dollar Shave Club – Pay attention to the details

The beautiful pouches, the careful packaging, the bespoke magazine: it’s no wonder men love receiving the Dollar Shave Club in the post.

No detail is too small or too incidental to overlook: the Dollar Shave Club applies a slavish level of detail to the art of shaving; it takes our skin seriously and makes sure those finer details make us feel good.

Moleskin – Transcend your product

On the face of it, Moleskin shouldn’t work. It’s selling leather-bound notebooks in a digital age and asking that we write using a pen, not a keyboard.

But Moleskin isn’t just a notebook. It’s a lifestyle choice. It says I like analogue timepieces not digital ones; that I sip espressos, not cappuccinos; that I like Parker pens, not throwaway bics.

With its rounded edges and quality paper, every Moleskin notebook comes backed by a premium feel. Better yet, it plays to its sense of prestige. This is the brand that was used by the famous writers of the 1800s, irrespective of the fact it was founded in 1997! The brand has spun a story – whether true or false – that’s reinforced at every turn.

GoPro – User Generated Content

GoPro champions the fun of adventure, and owners of these portable cameras are encouraged to upload user-made videos to Youtube and Instagram, and tag the company in every post.

The best vids are shown on the GoPro channel, creating a healthy drive in people to keep pushing the boundaries of creative expression, and ensuring the wheels of this user-generated machine keep turning.

Celebrities have jumped on board too, like Foals and their recent single, Mountain at my Gates, which was filmed entirely with a GoPro.

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