Owning Your Brand
The MIT branding tour exposed us to perspectives of many different flavors of branding: from new brands to staples, main steam to niche. One common thread that was consistent among all of the most successful players we visited, was the importance of owning your own brand.
The most successful companies we visited had a strong understanding of both who they were, and how they could most successfully relate that understanding to their followers. Acne and Carolina Herrera were fabulous examples of this - although they approached brand strategy through very different styles. One with deep research and quick reaction to consumer demands, and one with a grounding in intuition capable only by those who truly embody the characteristics of their constituency.
Some of us concluded the trip with a visit to Barcelona, where Gaudi made a solid stamp upon the city, coloring it with his visions of the world. I thought this was an excellent example of someone owning their own brand to such a degree that it now defines not only Gaudi as an artist but the city in which he spent his energy. His vision is unexpected, unique, crisp and consistent only in its ability to always catch you by surprise.
Much as MIT Sloan should do as a business school, it is important in branding to be willing to lay claim to your own successes and communicate them to the world. To be recognized as the best in their field, one must communicate their own innovations, and thereby disable the competition from trying to lay claim to concepts that are simply replicas of their own success.
Thank you all for a fantastic study tour!