Shawn Parr: How To Build Your Brand In An Agile And Orderly Fashion

Shawn Parr: How To Build Your Brand In An Agile And Orderly Fashion

CEO of Bulldog Drummond discusses how entrepreneurs can successfully share the value of what they have created.

Shawn Parr, Bulldog Drummond
  • 30 september 2013

Almost every entrepreneur and founder I’ve had the pleasure of working with is brilliant in their own unique way. They see a problem or gap in the market and they create a compelling product, technology or service for an unmet need; and then with passion, vision, courage, and conviction they set out to build a company to solve those needs. They’re part of a fearless and inspiring bunch. By the time they come to us, they’ve usually got a solid idea about the problem they want to solve or the product they want to build. Most have thought through the mechanics of how they might build their product, and every single one of them brings an infectious amount of optimism and urgency for their venture.

Most of the time what’s missing is a lack of knowledge around how to articulate and share the value of what they’ve built or are planning to build. There’s often a focus on the wrong tools needed and a general lack of knowledge around what is involved in building a brand. Many think a logo is the most important element they need, while others have fallen in love with using a forgettable, disconnected or difficult name for their product or service. The most successful entrepreneurs I know are the ones who are fanatical about what they know and are equally honest and open about what they don’t know. Understanding the power and dimensions of brand is often at the top of the “don’t know” list. So for those building a start-up here’s a simple framework that we follow when building a brand.

Brand is?

Brand is not a logo, a tagline or an advertising campaign. It’s a multi-dimensional platform that can be your greatest differentiator and competitive edge if built correctly. It represents both a rational and emotional connection to your various stakeholders and the consumer that ultimately decides to purchase and engage with you. It’s important to understand and deploy the power of a fully developed brand.

Clearly define what business you’re in 

It’s the first question, the one to start with, and the one to answer with careful thought. And it’s not always the first answer you give. “What business are you in?” should lead you to understand the broader value you’re going to offer the world. It is the fundamental question that should inform others why you exist, while helping mold your vision and purpose. When we ask this simple question to the founders of startups and senior executives of large and established multinational corporations, they realize that when they answer it correctly and imaginatively they unlock new value and potential for their brand.

Build a rock solid brand platform

Think of your brand platform as the foundation that directs and informs every aspect of your business. A platform that’s crystal clear and unshakable should include a clear vision statement that outlines, in simple terms, an aspirational view of the impact you’re planning to make in the world. It should include a purpose statement that informs how you plan to deliver on the vision. What most businesses skip is a set of operating principles, or values that guide behaviors and decisions. With these foundational elements in place, you should clearly outline the personality traits of the brand to inform the development of your products, identity and communications. Take each of these elements and ladder everything back to the purpose and you’ll keep everything about your brand cohesive and connected.

Design an identity that you’d be proud to wear on a t-shirt

Working from the brand platform, informed and inspired by your larger purpose, you’re now equipped to name your brand deliberately. Working from the brand principles and personality traits, you have the inspiration points and guardrails to direct the development of a brand identity that should break through and stand out in your category. Your identity and the design language that surrounds your brand is a worthwhile investment given the importance of design in most categories of business today. It’s important to understand the added value and quality cues that design can add to your competitive edge.

Tell a compelling story

Developing and sharing a compelling brand narrative is like crafting and telling a really good story. You want other people to hear it and want to share it. To start, prepare an outline that’s informed by your purpose and your business strategy. The characters in your story and how you tell it should be guided by your principles and personality traits. When it comes to crafting the stories, find a consistent voice for your brand and test it out to make sure it resonates. When it comes to sharing your story, think like an editor of a magazine, and program out the chapters or the various aspects of the story with an editorial calendar to ensure you manage the delivery and the timing in a coordinated manner. They say people don’t read today, which I don’t agree with, so make sure you’ve got something interesting, relevant and memorable to say.

Shawn Parr is the CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego. Clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Ideo, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, CleanWell, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision. Follow the conversation at @BULLDOGDRUMMOND.

[Image: Flickr user zzpza]


Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Brand Development Today

Swipe Left On A Dating World Built To Keep You Single And Disconnected

Hinge's VP of Marketing Karen Fein tells us about the service's daring ditch of the swiping culture that's designed to attract advertising revenue, not meaningful connections

Arts & Culture Today

Marvel Comic Tells The Story Of A Heroic Syrian Mother

Madaya Mom is the true tale of a family trapped inside a town for over a year


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Retail Today

Brooklyn Cafe Lets Customers Pay By The Hour, Not By The Cup

Glasshour is an establishment that provides free coffee and pastries and charges for the time guests spend there

Technology Today

Electric Spoon Changes The Way Food Tastes

The Taste Buddy is being developed to manipulate your taste buds and make everything more delicious

Travel Today

Bike Path In Poland Can Glow For 20 Years Using Solar Power

Cyclists can follow the shimmering blue lanes for better safety each time they ride

Technology Today

Open-Source Toolkit Lets Communities Build Their Own Street Furniture

The Wikiblock database contains 30 blueprints of different neighborhood fixtures including benches, bus stops, and kiosks

Food Today

Tiny Pub Only Has Space For Three People

Make Time For It is a small London pop-up bar that encourages conversation without the distraction of technology


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Advertising Today

This Beer Was Brewed Just For Scotch Drinkers

Highland Park Scotch Whisky & Sixpoint Brewery have teamed up to create two limited-edition pairings for New York City boilermakers

Mobile Today

Let An AI Librarian Help Sort Your Digital Bookmarks

A new app uses machine learning to help organize your virtual life

Mobile Today

Pizza Hut Tattoo Lets You Place An Order From Your Body

The latest gimmick from the fast-food chain is a tattoo-like sticker that lets customers get delivery with a simple tap on their arm

Travel Today

Reinvented Bicycle Inspired By Supercar Design

The yellow bike based on a Lamborghini has sharp edges and an aluminum alloy frame

Health Today

Health Platform Gives Perspective On Your Weekly Habits

Gyroscope is a new wellness app that works by amalgamating data about your life into beautifully designed visuals

Beauty Today

Korean Beauty Brand Uses VR To Let Customers Pick Their Ingredients

Innisfree created a unique experience for its Shanghai Disneyland customers with a virtual reality trip to select what goes into their purchase

Arts & Culture Today

3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled

Technology october 21, 2016

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

No search results found.