Tag Archives: brand

What working for BMW taught me about branding

I was hired to work for BMW Group Canada fresh out of grad school. I bought myself a beautiful pair of Prada heels and some gorgeous new suits to celebrate and from my first day working in the President’s office, I took executive management’s mantra seriously: work hard and play hard.

Looking back at that time – 12 years ago – I feel tremendously pride in what I learned (and contributed) at BMW. I learned about branding and about love for a brand; I’m not talking about love for a car, or a luxury product, or 5 star customer service, or the fabulous parties and events; no, I learned that a company and product can have a personality and that personality is transmitted through a brand and carried forward by every single employee and follower/client of the brand. Everything that we feel, think, believe, experience about a product, service or organization makes up a brand and to put it very simply, I was blessed to have been immersed in this amazing learning experience right after graduation from my Master’s program.

Most of my MBA colleagues went into banking, some others into consumer products, and still others into consulting services but my decision to join BMW was twofold: 1) I wanted a job that would stand out on my resume (and working for one of the most internationally recognized brands will do that quite nicely!) and 2) I wanted to work with executive management and board members to understand how “big decisions” are made. Both elements have helped me in my professional career and the investment I put into BMW as an employee was richly rewarded: the lessons I learned in branding have been present in many aspects of my life: from writing, my consultancy and the decisions I have made as a professional.

Working at BMW, I ended up learning more about branding than I ever thought possible. It probably started during my very first week when my boss – the President of BMW Group Financial Services – told me he got me a new BMW to drive since it was important that I “love the car.” And from that moment on, the learning never stopped; to this day I am continually impressed by BMW’s ability to reach the heart and minds of consumers. I still remember hearing about “corporate identity” (or “CI” as I learned how to call it) and experiencing the rush that comes with driving a series 7 down the 401 in Toronto or participating as a sponsor in Formula One in Montreal.

196482_5791600338_520_nPhoto: Esther Clark at Formula 1 in Montreal, Canada. Part of BMW’s sponsor team.

Branding is not about a marketing strategy or an advertiser’s storyboard or the color or look of your logo. It is about connecting your product or service to a human being and doing this in a meaningful, coherent and continuous way. I may just be BMW’s biggest fan in Quito, Ecuador: I love the brand, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Esther Clark

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Savvy Saturday August 6th, 2016

The worst place to develop a new business model is from within your existing business model. – Clayton Christensen

www.pinterest.com

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Ecuador 3.0

I have spent the last ten years in Ecuador. I though it was about time to start highlighting some of the beautiful discoveries I have made in these years living and working in Ecuador. I’m calling this series Ecuador 3.0 to reflect the Marketing 3.0 idea created by Kotler – that brands need to connect, engage and live in tandem with the wants/needs/desires/values of customer. Ecuador 3.0 is born!

I thought I would start this series with something strikingly simple…water. Guitig natural sparkling water is an amazing product. Their story here. Their official website here.

Guitig recently paired up with some talented local designers to create unique bottle designs. More info here (in Spanish).

Drink it in!

– EMC

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Visual Business Inspiration

Notebook, camera and a sense of curiosity…the best tools for discovering insights for your next product, service or business endeavor. – EMC

 

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Savvy Saturday March 5, 2016

The short run always seems urgent, and a moment where compromise feels appropriate. But in the long run, it’s the good ‘no’s that we remember.

On the other hand, there’s an imperative to say “yes.” Say yes and build something that matters.

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Savvy Saturday October 17th, 2015

“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway

Grace under pressure.

Grace under pressure.

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cop·y·cat

Don’t be a “copy cat”. We want to hear your voice, your ideas, your work. Be authentic and true. Write with mistakes and correct them later. Go with the flow of your ideas and you will see that it leads you to somewhere that no one else could have imagined or written down. You cannot copy inspiration. Intelligence. Wit. Yourself.

If you do copy. Do so gracefully. State where you took the information. Hat tip your source. Thank someone who inspired you.

If you copy and take praise, remember that it is not professional and you lose moral authority as a person or entity or project you are associated with. Although the source may never find out, you will know that you did and that’s what matters.

– EMC

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Legacy and Future – let’s not throw away the past!

Strategy + Business published an article about Adidas reconnecting with its past in order to inspire its future. It reminded me of a discussion we had this week while we were “ideating” for the future of one of our organization’s business units; I mentioned the unit’s “legacy” and how this presents challenges and opportunities for the organization going forward.

In the cited article, the authors talk about how Apple, Adidas, Lego, Burberry and others came to a point where each company:

…realized that it had a distinctive history rich with memories, experiences, and signature processes that could be used to design the future — not through a slavish adherence to tradition, but through thinking differently about strategy, innovation, and products.

People and organizations all go through moments when they fail. Sometimes organizations never recover and slowly become irrelevant to their stakeholders. Case in point: Netflix vs. Blockbuster.

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Last year at the Peter Drucker Global Forum I heard Nilofer Merchant talk about “seeing around corners” in order to understand what we should expect as leaders of organizations. For those companies who have a legacy, a history, a track-record, a story, a “tribe” – sometimes it is a matter of looking at “signature” products/services/processes/experiences in a new way. Successful businesses (past, present and future) connect with stakeholders in a unique way: bringing out the best and brightest of the brand, its clients and the overall organization.

EMC

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