Stay classy – taking the higher road in brand & reputation building

stayclassyapple

When news reports of Samsung Note 7 devices exploding started landing, some competitor brands had a field day trying to troll Samsung.

This is, of course, nothing new in the highly competitive mobile devices industry. In fact, Samsung has been guilty of doing the same to its idol competitor.

Now, what did Apple do or say to Samsung?

Nothing.

That’s right – zip, zilch, zero… nada.

Apple said nothing; instead, it maintained the high road and didn’t kick its competitor while they were down (or attempt to take revenge for the many trolling incidences in the past). After all, the issue was a serious one – explosions are no small things and any injury to a consumer is one too many. What if a device had exploded in the hands of a child?

Then, I read today that an Apple iPhone 7 has “exploded”.

While investigations into the incident are ongoing, the news cycle has, well, exploded. Reading through the coverage, however, there isn’t much cynicism directed towards Apple (although, there’s plenty to go around in mobile devices sector especially in regards to one brand copying another).

Can you imagine how the news cycle and public backlash might be like if Apple had trolled Samsung during the exploding Note 7 fiasco, though?

Remember: Stay classy.

You never know when karma might come back to bite you in the ass.

Obsolescence Makes VCR Manufacturers Press Stop

The news that the world’s last manufacturer of Videocassette Recorders (“VCR”) will manufacture its last VCR has gone around the world. 40 years after the first VHS video cassette recorder was manufactured, Japanese consumer electronics company Funai Electric – the last known company making the devices – is ceasing production of its VCR products. The company cited declining sales and difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts as reasons to cease production. At its peak, the company sold 15 million VCRs per year, which has since dwindled down to 750,000 units in 2015 (Frankly, still an astonishing number! Who knew that three-quarters of a million people still bought brand new VCRs?!).

The news caught my attention for a couple of reasons.

Recorded Nostalgia

First of all, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. When I was growing up, we had limited screen time (television, not tablet). My mother would record our TV shows during the week and we’d watch them during the weekend; after homework and revision, of course. Or that time when my friends discussed the first time they saw what was on the tapes dad had hidden away. 😉

I also remembered the “accessories” industry that sprouted around the VCR and VHS tapes. Who didn’t have some sort of VHS tape rewinder placed near their TV stand?

Remember these?!

Fast Forward To The End

Secondly, I was impacted by the fact that obsolescence has claimed yet another victim. Very specifically, it reminded me about the following clip from the movie, Other People’s Money, starring Danny Devito.

The bit when “Larry the Liquidator”, talked about obsolescence with the example of “the last company around […] that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw” is especially powerful for me.

This company is dead.

I didn’t kill it. Don’t blame me.

It was dead when I got here. […]

You know why?

Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence.

We’re dead, all right. We’re just not broke.

And do you know the surest way to go broke?

Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure.

You know, at one time there must have been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw.

I turn to this scene time and time again whenever I think about my career or the brands I am working with (see: “Brands Will Last Forever… Right?” and “A truly innovative agenda and prepping for jobs that do not yet exist“).

Sometimes, it’s not just about product excellence or an endearing (even enduring) brand. Or, if you think about it from a career perspective – it’s not about your productivity or your personality.

It’s about whether you can successfully adapt to defend your place in this world.

Or, as General Eric Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff puts it: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

News sources:

The Ultimate Guide To Business Cards – Print & Design (Infographic)

Here’s a really cool infographic by Businesscards.com developed with the main intention to address the common disconnects in branding projects between less technical small business owners and the graphic designers that they hire.

This really helpful guide is meant to walk business owners through the points in the creative process where they are likely to struggle the most.

Click here for the original link to the infographic.

Living Our Brand: Fulfilling The Promise Our Stakeholders Perceive We Make

I was looking through some of my older presentations before and had come across one slide that said,

“Living Our Brand: Fulfilling The Promise Our Stakeholders Perceive We Make” – Leigh Wong

Allow me to unpack that a little for you:

  1. It is not enough to have a great brand strategy – one must live it out too!
  2. Living out our brand happens in two parts: first, it’s about fulfilling a promise to our stakeholders. I know there are many, many, many ways of understanding what a brand ultimately is – but suffice to say, one of the better ways of understanding what a brand is, is that it is a promise made between our stakeholders and our brand. So, living our brand means keeping and fulfilling that every promise.
  3. Second, living out our brand must also be understood in the context of our audience/stakeholder/customer/end-user. The promise we are making is not necessarily the one that we think we are making, rather it is the promise that our stakeholders perceive we are making!

So, when you want to think about living out your brand, you’ll really need to think about it in at least these terms described here.

Brian Solis Interviews Guy Kawasaki on Enchantment

Apple is an anti-social company” – so says Guy Kawasaki in this interview with Brian Solis. That, of course, kept me hooked!

I followed an incoming link to this blog that took me to this blog post on The Brandbuilder Blog featuring a video of Brian Solis interviewing Guy Kawasaki on the subject of Enchantment (also the title of his book). As a avid, life-long student on the art and science of influence – this interview was very insightful for me. Solis’ thoughts, concepts and articulation of social media infrastructure as well as Kawasaki’s take on influence makes for a very engaging video (you really don’t feel the 30-minute length!).