Richard Smith, Creative Director at Sullivan, explains how visionaries like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg approach their branding and why it’s important to apply brand thinking to founders’ products

Lately, we’ve found that the definition of a “big brand” is changing. Decades ago, the big brands were the heavyweights like 3M or Honeywell or GE—the companies that made products and whose success was defined by how many units were sold.

Then along came the 1990s where the Internet brought forth a new generation of big brands. Microsoft, Apple and Google were successful because of how they powered intangibles, like large-scale computing, information (“organizing the world’s information”), or innovation (“think different”). However, these complex offerings were made more understandable and accessible through cohesive branding—the voice and visual system that conveys an interrelation between every product.

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