A while back someone asked me what it takes to get to great brand work – the kind of work that moves people to react. After a think, I came back with a list of 10 things needed to get to the kind of work that has a lasting impact.

1) Trust – Trust yourself (gut) and trust each other. Second guessing tends to water down ideas/relationships and eventually it will destroy them.

2) Debate – challenge others and fight for what you believe – and never take it personally when others do the same.

3) Believe – Believe in what you want to be, not what you have been or currently are. The only thing you can affect is the future.

4) Provoke – If it feels safe and comfortable chances are it will end up as wallpaper. The work should provoke a reaction and in many cases, make you nervous. If it doesn’t, then you probably shouldn’t waste your money.

5) Understand – go back in time and learn why the brand came to be, what was its reason for being and where was it trying to go.

Hangin’ with Sandy P (and no mom, I’m not really smoking)

6) Focus – at every step in the process ask yourself, “Will this help make the work better?” (This is particularly true for those times when process and meetings seem to be taking over)

7) Be authentic – Authenticity is at the core of every great brand. People have always been skeptical about advertising and it’s imperative that we don’t give them a crack to push the door open and call bullshit.

8) Take risks – Be willing to knock people back on their heels. As Dan Wieden once said, “People don’t baby-step into love. They get knocked back, lose their balance and fall into love.”

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” – Apple

9) Force engagement – People go out of their way to ignore advertising. Don’t give them that opportunity. Force them to notice you.

10) Limit the decision makers – Those who have the ability to say yes are the only ones who should have the ability to say no.

A Final thought on building brands that last

“Bureaucracies don’t build brands. They get too tangled up in their own double think. Brands are built by individuals who have a passion for their craft. Who have an uncontrollable urge to learn. Be it from a research study or a dinner, from a strategy statement or a song. Brands are built by people who are fully awake and not afraid to experiment. Brands are built by people who have a genuine respect and affection for the people they are talking to. And for a product or service they are talking about.”

– Dan Wieden