PSFK talks to the CEO of Brandstream about the delicate process of how to make brands better, not just bigger.
PSFK is excited to welcome Scott Bedbury as a speaker at PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO. Scott is the founder of Brandstream, a brand development company based in Seattle working with clients like Samsung and Airbnb SF on topics ranging from internal culture development to insights to design to positioning and business innovation. On November 1st, Scott will discuss applying the lessons he’s learned working at Starbucks and Nike to a digital age.
Has the digital landscape affected branding and marketing?
I am struck by the fact that most of what passes for marketing or brand building does not work. With all due respect to the digital tools and platforms that have emerged in the last 15 years for companies to create stronger brands, very few actually succeed. I believe it’s because we have too many engineers, accountants and scientists driving the process. All the artists, the rebels and the visionaries have been pushed out. Every aspects of a business is a mixture of art and science. Somewhere along the way it’s all be boiled down to science. That is a real problem.
Can you talk a little about the importance of clear internal brand positioning? How does this allow for growth into new markets?
Positioning can be great when it’s right, but also limited if it does not evolve. It is the most delicate yet critical things a brand must do. If we didn’t reposition Nike when I was there it would be a $2 billion company selling to teen age boys with acne and great jump shots. The “Just Do It” campaign opened up the access point to the brand and made it more ageless, more relevant and more multi-cultural. Likewise with Starbucks a few years later. Without the “Third Place” positioning, they might well be romancing the bean in Seattle. We transcended the cup and focused our energy on the coffee experience.
Have the lessons we need to learn for branding changed from the time you applied them at Nike and Starbucks to this age of start-ups and tech power houses?
The fundamental human truths — the experiences we seek and emotions that drive most if not all of our daily decisions – have not changed. What has changed is the ability to connect and engage directly with consumers in ways not imaginable 15 or 20 years ago. After leaving Starbucks I spent several years in Silicon Valley helping startups like Tellme Networks and one of the first shopping sites, MySimon. In the last decade I have applied that same core philosophy to healthcare, aerospace, vodka, beer, architecture, electronics, telecommunications, defense, software, hospitality, life sciences and new category disruptors such as Airbnb.
Please join us on November 1st to hear Scott discuss how branding and marketing has changed in the age of start-ups and tech power houses at PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO.