Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…
This past spring, I shared the stage with Scott Bedbury at the Furniture Today Annual Bedding Conference in Arizona. One of the perks of speaking at conferences is hearing other experts share their wisdom with the world. A keynote speaker important enough to have his own Wikipedia page impresses me but having the street cred to back up the accolades – that’s truly impressive.
If you’ve never heard of Scott before, here’s your 411. He was THE marketing executive behind Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign and is responsible for the rebranding of Starbucks. Currently he’s a member of the Board of Directors for Jones Soda and CEO of Brandstream, Inc and author of A Brand New World.
What the heck is a brand?
Scott opened his keynote with some marketing basics – the definition of a brand.
“A brand is defined by a set a values and promises made by a company. It’s not something you wear or use – it lives in the consumer’s head and heart. You don’t own it – your customer does.”
In the 80’s when Scott interviewed for his job at Nike, Phil Knight (founder of Nike) told him during the interview that marketing is something other companies do. “We don’t do that here.” The best marketers understand marketing is psychology – it’s about reading what people are feeling and wanting when they come in contact with the brand. They dig into the emotional connection. They discard the linear features/benefits and connect with the hearts of the people who buy the product or service.
At Starbucks, he worked with Howard Schultz who believed that he wasn’t in the coffee business selling to people. “We’re in the people business selling coffee.”
Scott talked a lot about branding but he also talked about building strong teams of people to carry the message forward – maybe even more important. He believes that employees are either assets or liabilities and set the guardrails of the brand. When a company’s in trouble, the best people often leave first – they tie their success and personal brand standards to the companies they work for.
Scott Bedbury’s 16 things
To wrap up his talk, Scott shared 16 lessons he’s learned working with companies like Starbucks and Nike. While his tips focus on marketing, they can also describe social media best practices – and life in general.
My favorite is number 13 – being flexible is paramount to success in life and business. I’d love to hear which ones resonate with you.
- Consumers are really not that into you.
- Make it your business to give your customers (and potential customers) a reason to connect.
- Respect the consumer’s intelligence, their time and their experiences.
- Respect what your customers feel in the moment you connect with them.
- Respect the spandex rule – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
- Avoid looking like Sybil. Schizophrenics might be entertaining but they’re hard to get to know – be consistent.
- You get what you pay for. Always.
- Respect and reward those who help you.
- Remember that 5% of humanity is crazy and that another 5% will never be satisfied with what you do.
- All brands need to be reinvented once in a while.
- It’s not what you say but how you say it.
- Find the art in everything you do.
- Be willing to turn the ship around. Sometimes you need to change course and that’s okay.
- Unleash the human potential of your organization.
- Be fully present and make connections with your employees, customers, peers and the ones you love. In this digital age it has never been easier to make an emotional connection.
- Have fun!
I’m very grateful to Dave Perry from Furniture Today for the opportunity to be part of this year’s annual Bedding Conference.