No, it’s not that tights are always a good idea, because they’re really not. There are however some tactics that make a successful, beloved superhero that you can use to build a successful, beloved superbrand.
Whether it is a winged rodent projected into the sky, Pantone Red and Blue tights or a really badass line they say before they take off or punch a bad guy in the face, superheroes always have brand consistency. I have said this a thousand times and will say it again. You can have the best logo and name, but if you don’t put it out there consistently, you don’t have a brand. So, put on your cape, wear that “S” on your chest, talk the talk and walk the walk. Say it with me, “Holy awesome brand, Batman!”
Always do what’s right
Especially when it isn’t expected. Let me give you an example. You just ordered 100 widgets from your normal vendor. When they arrive and you open the box, included with the invoice is a note:
Our suppliers were running a special this month. We were given a 10% discount on our cost. As you will see from the enclosed invoice, we passed this special savings on to you. It’s our way of saying thanks for being a loyal customer – we truly appreciate your business!
How do you feel about ordering from this vendor? What if another widget salesman approaches you for your business? What if someone asks you to recommend a good widget supplier? A superhero always does the right thing and doesn’t make too big a deal out of doing it. Don’t worry, people will notice.
A Good Origin Story
The origin story is a must have for any great superhero. It is the back-story that reveals how he/she acquired super powers or was motivated to do what they do. Peter Parker got bit by a radioactive spider to become Spiderman. Superman was born Kal-El on the dying planet Krypton before he was sent to live with the Kents. Bruce Banner got blasted by gamma rays to become the Hulk. You get the idea…the origin story helps us connect with them. We see what motivates them to do what they do every day. It’s the catalyst that took them from ordinary to extraordinary.
One of the first things I do when I meet a business owner is ask them how they got their start. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories I have heard. When you look at the odds of succeeding in a small business (According to the SBA, more than half of small businesses fail before their 5th year), you realize that many of the successful business owners performed superhuman feats to build their businesses.
Some of my favorite origin stories:
Clif Bar: A guy living in his parent’s garage realizes he can make a better energy bar and does so spectacularly selling $700,000 of them in the first year. Today Clif is a $235 Million empire. Read About it.
Caliper: Started by a blind man who got passed over for employment, not because of his limitations, but the limitations of his potential employers to see beyond his blindness. He decides to invent a way to help “…companies see employees for who they really were”. Read About It.
Virgin Records: A 16 year old secondary school dropout starts a small magazine called “Student” (ironically enough). This magazine would become the launching pad for Virgin Records and the entire Virgin Empire. Read About It.
What is your story? What motivates you? What is the catalyst that made you what you are today? Think about your story; practice telling it well. Incorporate it into your brand. Maybe you didn’t find a fallen meteor that changed you into Widget Woman. Maybe it’s your personal values or passions that started you down the path. Your potential customers will connect with your brand better if they see the human side of it.
Be Prepared and Take Chances for What You Believe
A superhero’s feats are undeniably and widely appealing. Why? They risk themselves to help people every day and fight for what they believe in. And when they do, they do it with style. Something only known by true comic geeks is all the work and failures that go into becoming that infallible superhero persona. They try new things out. They get hurt; sometimes almost killed. They are constantly innovating with new gadgets, vehicles and such.
To be a Superbrand you have to:
- Identify your core values and incorporate them not only into your brand, but also into your business culture. A superhero always fights for what she believes in and is principled in all that she does.
- Hone your skills, innovate; always strive to be the best at what you do. If you are the best or one at the top in your game then you aren’t selling, you are stating fact. Great marketing isn’t enough anymore; what your selling has to be great too. A superhero stays ready to spring into action at any moment – they know if they aren’t the best, then they will lose and the stakes are too high to lose.
- Take some chances! You can’t be extraordinary by playing it safe. Don’t be afraid to fail. On the same note, be prepared to learn and change what isn’t working. Bruce Wayne got his ass kicked his first time out. He learned from it; adjusted his branding (Batman Year One) and became the batty super hero we know and love today. A superhero knows to be better, faster and stronger than everyone else and that you have to stand out a little. If you don’t, you’re just not a superhero.
Up, Up and Away!
Whether you want to be a superhero or a superbrand, it takes time, effort and planning. You will have some successes and failures. You need to have the resolve to push through (and learn from) the failures and not think too well of your successes. Build your brand, do right by your customers, always strive to be better and above all believe. Believe that you can fly and you will.