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Great branding favors the bold

Organizations looking to rebrand themselves should first consider motivation. Is it to freshen themselves in the marketplace?

Organizations looking to rebrand themselves should first consider motivation.

Is it to freshen themselves in the marketplace? Tweak a color? Flip a tagline? Rename? This façade-level motivation isn’t nearly enough. You must start bigger. A lot bigger. Don’t think about changing how your company is presented. Think about how you’ll make your dent in the universe.

There are classic examples of this: Apple, of course, which didn’t really make computers. They made personal freedom and empowerment. There’s Tesla, which doesn’t really think about themselves as a car company. They’re engineering a new world. They didn’t try and position within a category with comparisons. They transcended. They aren’t a part of a brand category anymore. They’re an idea. A culture. A challenge. A mindset. A lifestyle. But getting to this level? Intimidating. Daunting. Possibly impossible.

As an agency, it’s what we do. We focus on the big. Then the bigger. We keep leveling up until we break through the ceiling of the expected into new territories. How? We question. We push. We challenge. Here are some things to consider:

Instead of answering what you do, answer the question, 'What do you empower?'

Jim Hume

Instead of espousing customer benefits, answer the question, “How is your customer different because of your existence?” Instead of focusing on what you offer the world, answer the question, “How are you inspiring/transforming the world?” And if you were to shut down today, what amazing things would the world be missing out on? Now take all of that pile of what feel like uncomfortable thoughts, and you start to formulate your difference in the capital-W World. Not just what makes you different in your lowercase-w world of competitors.

Only when you start thinking boldly can you possibly disrupt your industry. Only then can you truly start rethinking everything: the experience, the language you use, the internal culture, the habits, the behaviors — all of it. These are no longer bullet points in a PowerPoint deck; it is a deep emotional response. It is an unrelenting sense of purpose in the form of an organization. It is your competitors playing checkers with each other, while you’re inventing a new game altogether.

If this all sounds terrifying, exciting, ridiculous, and intriguing … that’s good. We’re on the same page. After all, greatness never happened by half steps or quarter measures. Greatness favors those who are willing to be bold, audacious, and authentically different. Let’s go find your bold.

Photo of Jim Hume.
Jim Hume

As the principal and founder of Phire Group, Jim works closely with clients to build brands that match an organization’s reason for being with their desire for solutions. Jim started the agency in 2004 with the philosophy of engaging a brand’s community to help shape and recognize its full potential. With more than 20 years in the industry, he’s worked with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups in consumer goods, healthcare, technology, education, business-to-business, the arts, and more.