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Learn the key ideas of the book by Emily Heyward


How to build a brand that people will go nuts for

Today both the public and the market have changed, and brands that want to be successful cannot stay stuck in the past: telling a story invented around the boardroom table no longer works, and companies need to pay attention to ethics and transparency. Hence, a brand becomes something more than just a logo or a graphic, but enters into a direct relationship with the customer and becoming a catalyst in the creation of a community that not only chooses that particular product, but shares its ideas and values, right from the start. Emily Heyward, co-founder of the Red Antler branding agency, shares with us the characteristics that every new brand must have, in her book Obsessed! Building a Brand People Love from Day One. 

Read in 17 min.
Listen in 21 min.

The market has changed, and traditional branding is no longer effective

Commercial brands are currently going through some big changes, and all we have to do, to see proof of this, is to open our Instagram feed. How many brands on our feed are ones we have known since childhood, and how many are completely new to us? Once you take a look, you will notice that most of them are brands we have never even heard of. Today’s market comprises a few long-standing brands, and a massive wave of startups, and each of these startups has one objective: to breakthrough with their innovative idea and revolutionise the market.

So, even if we were to launch our own startup, and even if it were to become totally revolutionary, it would still be swept up in this enormous wave and have to wrestle with its many competitors, to make itself known to the public. This battle for visibility can no longer be fought with advertising or buying media space, because the market is saturated, and the quality of the product or service itself is not enough to break through. The only way to fight – and ultimately win – is to bet everything on the brand.  

By carefully examining the success stories of the new, big players on the market, of the ones that  have really managed to get themselves noticed, and have their customers hooked, we will discover that the new formula to break through and stay at the top, is based on brand names. This doesn’t mean branding in the traditional sense, which entails curating an image and developing strong logos and graphics to go with your exciting new name, it actually goes much further. Building a brand today involves a company digging much deeper into who they are, what they believe in, and why they have chosen that particular product. This process should be done even before launching a product on the market, and will mean investigating the history of the company’s founders, their business ethics, and the needs of their future customer.

Old fashioned and somewhat static branding used to be standard procedure, and was acceptable to any audience, but nowadays, to grasp people’s attention and make them fall in love, a company must focus on their intentions, values, transparency, and dialogue. Gone are the days when a company can put forward an attractive monologue to entice potential customers: today the customers dictate the direction of the market, and in doing so, they expect and exchange before they give their approval. In return, they offer a select handful of companies their unprecedented loyalty, and true devotion that can help these companies ride the crest of the wave and stay on top.


The key ideas of "Obsessed"

The market has changed, and traditional branding is no longer effective
An effective brand always aspires to solve a problem for its customers
The secret to a successful brand lies in the emotional benefit it can provide
Successful brands and their adoring customers who share the same values
A successful brand naturally creates a community without much effort
Focussing and deciding who and what to exclude is a brand’s strength
When it comes to branding, being consistent is not always the right way to go
Take-home message
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