Great Brands Need a Vision

Think back 13 years ago.  Before the Euro, the Roth IRA, Lance Armstrong’s first Tour de France win and Monica Lewinsky’s rise to fame.  Seems like a long time ago, right?  Now, think back to what your company’s vision was in 1997.  Probably can’t remember, right?  And if so, how many “new” visions has your company had since?

Know why Steve Jobs is probably the greatest brand experts to ever live?  Because he understood that a great brand was something that needed to be bigger than the company itself.  The video below is from 1997 – very shortly after Jobs returned to Apple after a several-year hiatus.  Apple was in the tank.  A sinking brand. Unfocused product lines. A confused distribution system. The vultures were circling.

Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone or the iPod or even the Macbook Air in 1997.  What he did in 1997 had nothing to do with products and everything to do with vision.  He helped communicate to the entire Apple community that Apple wasn’t about computers.  It was about helping people change the world.  That was his brand vision in 1997.  Guess what.  It hasn’t changed in the 13 years since.  Everything the company has done since then – from reinventing how people purchase and listen to music to how they use their cell phones to communicate – has revolved around the idea of changing the world. Even his marketing campaign in 1997 didn’t tout new products.  It focused on creating a vision that applied to everyone from employees to media to the end consumer.  And you know what?  That vision was the basis for the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, the iTunes Store, the Apple Stores and whatever else Apple is dreaming up right now.

Check this out.  Maybe one of the best talks on creating a brand vision that I’ve ever seen.