5 Ways to Transform the Rules of Brand Legacy Building

brand legacy

Build A Brand Legacy

 

How do you build and maintain a brand legacy?

What do leaders often get wrong in building a brand?

Mark Miller and Lucas Conley are the authors of Legacy in the Making: Building a Long-Term Brand to Stand Out in a Short-Term World. Miller is the founder of The Legacy Lab, a research and consulting practice, and the chief strategy officer at Team One. Conley is the executive editor of The Legacy Lab and a former researcher for The Atlantic and staff writer for Fast Company.

 

“The best short-term strategy is a long-term one.” -Miller and Conley

 

5 Brand Building Errors

What do most leaders get wrong when they’re thinking about legacy?

We’ve learned a lot about how leaders build and maintain brand legacies since Mark founded The Legacy Lab in 2012. Over the years, we’ve identified five things traditional business leaders tend to do wrong today:

1) Think institutionally: Traditional brand leaders buy in to management systems and institutional processes with the goal of keeping up with market trends.

2) Lean into attitude over action: Traditional brand leaders imagine their brands first from the outside in, believing that what they say and how they posture matters more than what they do.

3) Practice command and control: Traditional brand leaders hoard information and tell customers what to do, striving for category dominance and sales superiority.

4) Follow category orthodoxy: Traditional brand leaders focus on mastering rules (e.g., “business is about making profits”) and take conventional wisdom for granted (e.g., “there are no profits in altruism”), all in the interest of maintaining the status quo.

5) Evolve episodically: Traditional brand leaders tend to grow stale by repeating the past (rarely innovating) or lose their identity by renouncing it (innovating everything at once). Both are examples of episodic evolution.

Once these were the accepted rules of brand-building. In the modern era these methods now amount to short-term thinking. And while short-term thinking may sound appropriate for our short-term world, we learned that it’s actually the long-term thinkers who make faster, sharper decisions. This is because, no matter the market trends, long-term thinkers know where they’re going. This counterintuitive insight—that the best short-term strategy is a long-term one—is at the heart of our book.

 

“Modern legacy brands are not museums.” -Miller and Conley

 

Your book highlights various leading organizations. How did you go about choosing them?

This is Day One: Leadership That Matters

day one

Everyday Leadership

Leadership educator Drew Dudley has spent the last 15 years teaching a more inclusive concept of leadership. His approach has resonated: his TEDx talk Everyday Leadership (The Lollipop Moment) was voted one of the 15 most inspirational TED talks of all time. His first book This is Day One: A Practical Guide to Leadership that Matters is a Wall Street Journal bestseller. I recently spoke with Drew about his work.

 

Why is it that so many people fail to recognize themselves as leaders?

We’re educated out of our leadership at an early age. The examples you’re given to illustrate a concept shape how you come to perceive it for the rest of your life, and the leadership examples we’re given as kids are usually giants: presidents, scientific groundbreakers, people who conquered empires. As those archetypes are reinforced through media and cultural institutions, we come to see leaders as looking a certain way, sounding a certain way, and having a certain level of profile and influence, and we don’t look for leadership from anyone who doesn’t fit that profile. Most people don’t see themselves as fitting that mold and regularly dismiss moments of impact, generosity, empowerment, courage, growth, etc. as “little things” rather than moments of leadership. How is a moment that causes someone to walk away from you feeling empowered not a moment of leadership? Someone is better off because of you and is likely to pass that along to others. Let’s face it however, because it impacts one person and not hundreds or more, those moments are rarely celebrated as leadership. That type of behavior isn’t how we’re introduced to leadership – it is presented after the giants, and as such is perceived as a somehow “lesser” form.

 

“You can’t add value to the lives of anyone else until you’ve added enough value to your own.” -Drew Dudley

 

Leadership is a Daily Practice

You make it clear that it’s a daily behavior, a daily practice. Why and how did this become a focal point for your leadership teaching?

Presenting leadership as a daily choice makes it far more accessible. I started working with university students—passionate, driven young people who fought for social justice, organized to provide support to their fellow students, volunteered hundreds of hours within their communities, and raised tens of thousands of dollars for charities. However, the vast majority of them didn’t see themselves as leaders. In fact, their perception of themselves was best encapsulated by one student who responded to the question “Why do you matter?” with “Well…I don’t yet. That’s why I’m working so hard.”

As I continued with my work, I found that people of all ages had subconsciously adopted the perspective, “I don’t matter yet, that’s why I’m working so hard.” When leadership is determined by titles and what you have done rather than about behaviors and what you are doing each day, people look at what they haven’t accomplished as evidence they don’t deserve to call themselves leaders.

However, perceiving leadership as a daily choice rather than accolades and influence gained over time reminds us that each and every one of us awakes every morning having done nothing that day to earn the title of leader, and we have the opportunity and obligation to act in ways that impact people and organizations positively. You may have spent 10 years acting in ways that made you the CEO, but on any given day the individual who sweeps the floors in your building could actually engage in more impactful behaviors than you do. On that day, they were a bigger leader than you were. It’s a perspective that keeps you from getting complacent because of what you have done.

 

“Leadership recognized is leadership created.” -Drew Dudley

 

Develop a Personal Leadership Philosophy

What Makes An Effective Apology

Sorry Isn’t Always Enough

 


“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” -Ben Franklin

 

What’s the best way to apologize?

Most people would answer that question: “I’m sorry.”

But, sometimes saying sorry just isn’t enough.

Clinical psychologist Jennifer Thomas has studied apologies. Her extensive research with Gary Chapman sheds light on what works and what doesn’t in the art of apology.

 

“Apologies require vulnerability.” -Dr. Jennifer Thomas

 

If offenses are not dealt with between people, they take root and create a rift. Apologies require a vulnerability that relationships, both at work and at home, can benefit from.

Train Yourself to Stay Calm Under Pressure

Reduce Stress Before It Starts

 

“No other species lives with regret over past events, or makes deliberate plans for future ones.” –Daniel Levitin


We’ve all been there. Just at the worst time, when you have no margin for error, something happens that throws off your schedule or pushes you over the emotional edge. Renowned neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin shares strategies for how to plan for the stressful events in advance and stay calm under pressure.

9780525954187Ever lose your keys? Can’t find your wallet? (Yes, I am speaking from experience!) The gradual process of an organized home and mind begins by thinking ahead and putting in to practice certain behaviors that eventually turn to habits. Losing keys or reading glasses can be prevented by continuously forming the habit of designating a special spot for each of these items. Having a hook by the door for the keys or a basket on a side table for the glasses will prevent future frustration. Otherwise, under stress, your body produces the stress hormone cortisol, clouding your thinking.

 

“Are there things that I can put in place that will prevent bad things from happening?”

 

Put Systems in Place to Think Ahead

Under stress our brains do not think rationally. By training yourself to think ahead, systems can be put in to place to altogether prevent or at least limit damage. Big decisions, like end of life wishes, can be made years in advance so to avoid decisions made in the heat of the moment. Questions like, do you wish to have a long life and live in pain or a shorter life with better quality, can be planned out with loved ones long before an illness is imminent.

 

“Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol.” –Daniel Levitin

 

Listen to this talk, filled with practical tips for organization from a neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin. He also wrote a book expanding on his Ted Talk: The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.

 

“Email, Facebook, and Twitter checking constitute a neural addiction.” -Daniel Levitin

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