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You were always on my mind September 30, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, strategy.
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6 comments

In a meeting yesterday as I sat dreaming up ideas to make my wealthy clients even more money, someone blurted out “We need to ensure they stay top of mind” which I didn’t like at all. It sits alongside “the big idea” and “single-minded proposition” as a decidedly 20th century approach, and the reality is none of the brands people really want to be have anything to do with being top of mind.

The top-of-mind approach in fact is a challenger brand’s mentality. If you aspire to be top of mind you’re clearly not winning in your category, and you’re likely spending a good deal of time and energy just trying to compete. It’s the same as making a case for a piece of work focused around time with brand, while never pausing to consider just how much time is spent without.

The trick to both of those things is that the brands that are really thought of as top of mind, the Apples and Nikes and what have you, aren’t top of mind at all. In fact if they were to become top of mind, it would be a step back in some ways.

Those brands transcend any notion of “mind” and instead ingrain themselves in culture. I don’t just think of Apple when I’m shopping, and I don’t just think of Nike when I see someone run. They are the brands everyone else wants to be because nobody pauses to think about them.

So don’t bother with top of mind. Save that for the guys in second place, they don’t know any better anyway.

image courtesy of Esparta with thanks to compfight.

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I’ve got big ideas, I’m out of control (Commented on “A VC”) September 9, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in conversation, philosophy, work/life.
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Fred Wilson has an interesting short piece up this morning on failure. After reading it, I left the following comment:

I was doing a review of a (young but brilliant) guy on my team recently, and as we were discussing the feedback he said to me “You know, the thing I worry about more than anything is making mistakes.”

I looked at him blankly and said “That is like fretting that the sun might come up tomorrow. Guess what? It’s going to happen! Don’t worry about making mistakes, worry about things you can actually have a positive impact on. If you spend your time worrying about the possibility of mistakes you’re not going to get anything done.”

Now, being Australian (living in Canada atm), there’s a fair amount of a “no worries” attitude that is ingrained in us, but Fred I think you hit on something really crucial about the States – the fact that success is rewarded and if you fail you are encouraged to give it another go; as fortunate as I feel to be from Australia we don’t have the latter as part of our psyche. I’ve benefited from tremendously from growing up in Hong Kong among other places, and I think a willingness to get it wrong is one of the best things any society can have in its DNA.

It’s probably also the reason I’m a long way from home right now :)

Originally posted as a comment
by davidgillespie
on A VC using DISQUS.

Now, I adore Australia and it will always be home. We do have an odd relationship with success and failure though, born no doubt from a myriad of cultural sources others I’m sure have written long and eloquently about, and which I don’t want to get into right now. Instead I’ll just say, as I did the other day when someone asked me what this blog was about, I said “big ideas”.

“Are they the right ideas?”

I laughed and said “That my friend, was never the point.”

So, here’s to the big ideas today. Wherever they lead us.

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