Angela Ahrendts took Burberry from an aging British fashion house known for raincoats into a global luxury brand.
Elon Musk founded Tesla, an automotive and energy storage company that created the first fully electric sports car.
Steve Jobs co-founded Apple, a renowned company that gave the world the iPod, the MacBook, and the iPhone.
Ahrendts, Musk, and Jobs have had major impacts on the world we live in, and how companies work. They created products and brands that are both exclusive and compelling – what they created were products you never knew you wanted. People who swore off electric cars, using aesthetics as an excuse, now drive Teslas. People outside of Madison Avenue advertising executives are buying high-end trench coats. People line the block, stay up overnight, in anticipation for new Apple products. These executives are not marketing you a product, but a feeling, and that’s what makes them among the ranks of marketing legends.
Though Burberry, Apple, and Tesla are all very different companies they share an unmatched consistency. Meaning, anywhere in the world, you are guaranteed a great experience with a great product.
What does all of this mean to you? Even small brands, startups too, can pull from the playbook of legends.
1. Marketing is about vision: Angela Ahrendts said her “#1 job was to keep their brands powerful and relevant.” What that takes isn’t a one size fits all method, but is the result of a pure point of view. Refine your structure and your strategy, continue to do so over time, until you are confident in your vision for your company’s future. When you make a decision to focus on a specific vision, you can open up a wellspring of creativity.
2. Marketing is about values: Steve Jobs said that you have to “be really clear on what we want them to know about [you].” You’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about your organization – no company can – so you have to make people see who you are and how they can relate.
3. Marketing is about verisimilitude: Other than being a long, confusing word verisimilitude is truth. Elon Musk said, “you boil things down to the most fundamental truths… and then reason up from there.” What are your company’s fundamental truths? What does your brand stand for? If you’re proud of what you stand for, that’s something people can invest in and something your company can innovate around.
If Ahrendts, Musk, and Jobs thought they were just selling raincoats or cars they wouldn’t be who or where they are. Their marketing methods come from a rock-solid foundation of how they want you to feel after you’ve met their brand for the first time.