Looking for a brand benchmark? These are the top performers

3 is the magic number, or so sang De La Soul. (Anyone else remember that one??)).

Douglas Adams would have you believe it’s 42.

But my magic number is 35. 

35 is the number of brands that appear across all 3 global brand valuation studies (BRANDZ, Interbrand and Brand Finance).  I’ve been researching the brand strategies of the brands that appear in these studies since 2013. (Yes – I’m a total brand strategy geek, and proud of it).  But it’s the ones that appear across all that I do a really deep dive on every year.  And this year there are 35 of them.

Strong brands build the bottom line

Now, I hear some of you scoffing.  Because it’s easy to take pot shots at these valuation studies, as the inimitable Mark Ritson does here. The figures for the same brand are often widely different.  Take Google – who BRANDZ value at $323,601m and Brand Finance have at $159,722m.  Just a teeny $163,879m difference. A mere...


Perplexed by purpose? These 4 things are all you need to know

I almost didn’t write this blog.  What hasn’t been said about brand purpose over the past decade?

But then I started reading that advice. And realised you might just want something clearer and simpler.

So here’s 4 takeaways that cut through a decade of musings on ‘purpose’, to help you understand what it means for the brand you are building.

1. Having a purpose benefits your business in a multitude of ways, so you do need one.

Defining a clear and compelling purpose has been linked in research to:

  • 3x faster business growth than competitors
  • Increased customer preference and loyalty
  • Greater employee satisfaction and retention AND
  • Improvement of business innovation and transformation efforts.  

It's an investment that packs a punch. 

Purpose is also critical as a means of connecting all of your marketing efforts.

Purpose is the great uniter. If your marketing efforts aren’t being developed with the overall purpose of the...


Think you know what a brand is? Do this quick test to find out!

If you can confidently complete the next sentence in 10 seconds, you don’t need to read this blog. 

A brand is _______________________ .

Not so easy is it? 

But you know you need a good brand, right?

Everyone talks about brands. But what are they actually talking about?

Hold those thoughts for a moment, while I ask you another question. Imagine I sent you a bank transfer for $50,000, and you had to use it to buy a new car.  Which brand of car would you buy? 

I bet answering that question was easier, right? 

Now, the reason it was easier to answer that question comes back to what a brand actually is. 

Brands are what people think they are.

Defining what a brand is 

Walter Landor, the founder of one of the world’s largest and oldest brand consulting firms (where I cut my teeth on brand strategy) expressed it this way: 

“Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” 

What did he mean by...


Create a brand like Apple's by asking these simple questions

Come on, admit it.  

You know you’ve done it. 

At least once. 

Who hasn’t used the Apple brand as an example? 

In a presentation. In a workshop.  On a vision board.  As an example of a brand your client wants theirs to be like. 

And why not? Apple is the world's most valuable brand, with a brand valuation of $947.1 billion, according to BRANDZ rankings, growing 55% year-on-year and reclaiming its number 1 spot over Amazon.

But what does Apple stand for?  What is their brand strategy all about? 

Apple's brand strategy framework 

What Apple have done, like all other leading brands, is answer some simple questions.  The have crystal clear answers to:

1. WHY do we exist?

2. WHO are we and HOW do we do things?

3. HOW do we look, feel and sound?

4. WHAT do we do?

In my 20 years of brand strategy practice and research I've learnt that all of the world's strongest brands also...


Thinking of redesigning your logo and website? Stop! Read this first

As I sit in the UK on the first day of lockdown, I know that many of you, while feeling unsettled, may also be looking at this as an opportunity to step back and reassess aspects of your brand and businesses. 

One thing you may be considering is whether or not to redesign your logo and website. 

Perhaps you've been considering this for a while, or perhaps you see the recent slow down in business as the perfect opportunity to refresh what your brand looks and feels like.

But I will let you into the secret of how the world's most valuable brands will be approaching this.  

They will not be changing what they look like, or what they say about themselves unless they want to signal that they are doing something radically different - or want to stand for something different - in their customer’s lives.

Redesigning your logo and website is a sign to your customers that something about you has changed. Identifying this change should be your first...

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