Twenty (plus one) things we have learnt about branding after twenty years in business

Last week Elephants Can’t Jump turned the ripe old age of 20. Whilst we would have loved to celebrate in person with all of the fantastic individuals who have made the business what it is today, the current COVID-19 restrictions mean we will have to postpone the big party for a while yet.

However, to mark the occasion, here are 20 + 1 things we have learnt about branding after 20 years in business:

1. Start with the end in mind. Be clear on what your goal is as a brand, then set out the steps to get there. Seldom does aimless wandering get you to where you want to be.

2. Partnerships are relationships. They aren’t always plain sailing and the strongest ones have encountered some tough talks along the way.

3. Be collaborative to the core and embrace diversity. Together we solve the problem more effectively.

4. Listen to your gut. It’s usually right.

5. But learn to spot when you are too close to see the wood from the trees.

6. Know your consumer well. Never stop listening.

7. Look through both ends of the telescope and consider how your consumer views you in their world. Do not inflate your role in their life.

8. It’s not about you. It’s about consumers. The world is no-longer brand out, it is now brand in. You can only be as relevant as your consumers allow you to be.

9. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Know what makes you different and always stick to your values.

10. Less is more. Keep it simple. Complexity is costly.

11. Aim for a chain reaction. Engage the whole organisation and make sure the last person in the chain is clear, inspired and motivated to finish what you started.

12. If it’s not practical, it’s not strategy. Everything we do must be easily implementable and fit for purpose. High level thinking is not enough on its own.

13. Big rocks first. Imagine your brand is a glass you want to fill. Get those big rocks (purpose, values, differentiator) in first. Then fill in the sand (those little details).

14. Embrace change and move with the times. No brand is too big to be left behind.

15. Don’t be afraid of Beta mode. Waiting for perfect isn’t worth it.

16. Never stop learning and sharing. Inspiration can be found anywhere so never leave a stone unturned.

17. Be it, don’t just talk about it. Too often businesses are not confident enough to make the necessary changes to align with their brand.

18. Move at speed and be agile. Nothing kills creativity like time.

19. It’s not done ‘till it’s done’. The smallest mistake can trip up the biggest idea. We call it the last 99%.

20. Win, draw, loose. No matter the outcome, you’ve learnt something valuable.

+ 1. Always have fun.

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