What Happens Next Will Amaze You: A Brand Case Study

The stage was set. Meet Angelica, Keisha and Eduardo (fictional characters). Yvonne and Keisha were expert lingerie and underwear designers wanting to start their own business. Eduardo, there “friendly” next door neighbour, part time model.

Working between jobs for major fashion houses, they both spent hours upon hours creating amazing design collections which they now wanted to take to the world. Problem was, they had no idea what to call their exciting new label. They knew their designs were sassy, colourful, playful, hugging, sexy and most importantly, comfortable. Although they were brilliant designers, names and brands were not their forte.

Typically, Eduardo could not offer any ideas, but, in a stroke of unexpected brilliance, he did suggest to Google businesses which specialised in readymade names and brand concepts. Enter stage left:

They immediately searched the Fashion category listing and trawled through the names available. Slowly getting agitated, nothing really suited. That is until they reached the last page (always the case) and could not believe their eyes, simultaneously jumping for joy, they found their new name: “Underhugs” – a new brand is born.

Your brand or business name is critical if you’re trying to get a new business, product or service off the ground. Memorable brands start with a distinctive name. Great business names give you strong branding potential, high recall and the ability to attract more traffic to your website.

Let’s not forget about Eduardo. He now has a new job as brand ambassador for “Underhugs. Well done Eduardo.

The Journey to Journal Success


I just read a great blog which I would like to share with you all.

It’s always great when you can get little insights into the minds and activities of great leaders.

This article highlights the “habit of keeping a journal to reflect, innovate and discover” by seven leaders who have dared to challenge and rise to great success in their respective fields.

Happy reading:


richardbranson_600The ritual used by some of the world’s leaders including Oprah and Richard Branson – SmartCompany

Some of the greatest people in history share one simple, but empowering trait. The habit of keeping a journal to reflect, innovate and discover has been credited with the unique perspective gifted to some of the world’s most recognised entrepreneurs, creatives, and leaders.

Extraordinary thinking is linked to three characteristics: the understanding, expression, and evolution of self.

You’ll find that the seven people mentioned in this list all discovered and enhanced their ability to grow into and out of their best selves through the art of journaling.

Richard Branson

“Some of Virgin’s most successful companies have been born from random moments – if we hadn’t opened our notebooks, they would never have happened.”

For a man who’s developing intergalactic spacecraft, pioneering motor racing technology and overseeing a worldwide communications company, when he says he’s going to tell you about one of the most powerful tools in his arsenal, you expect it to be something pretty spectacular.

And, to be honest, it is.

Branson credits a deal of his success to his notebook, an old fashioned binder he’s renowned for carrying everywhere.

This simple, but effective habit was once a method he used to combat his dyslexia growing up, but slowly became one of his greatest professional assets.

“Note-taking is one of my favourite pastimes,” he writes on Virgin.

“I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas (or more importantly, other people’s) as soon as they came to me.”

This one technique has enabled Branson to successfully manage everything from global projects, negotiation assemblies and company innovation.

“No matter how big, small, simple or complex an idea is, get it in writing, but don’t just take notes for the sake of taking notes,” he writes.

“Go through your ideas and turn them into actionable and measurable goals. If you don’t write your ideas down, they could leave your head before you even leave the room.”

Oprah Winfrey

“Keeping a journal will absolutely change your life in ways you’ve never imagined”.

She’s one of the most successful and influential people in the world. She’s donated millions to charity, opened a school in South Africa and provided housing to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Despite this, Oprah believes that keeping a journal was the single most important thing she’s ever done.

Oprah has charted her path to success through the pages of her diaries since she was 15-years-old, remarking in a 2011 volume of O, the Oprah Magazine, how journaling enabled her to transform into a more purpose lead and self-aware person.

“I wrote a lot of bad poetry in my teens and 20s, mostly about how some guy had done me wrong. I used my journals as therapy. Oh, the time I wasted worrying about men and weight, and what other people thought! In my 40s, I got wiser. I started using journals to express my gratitude — and watched my blessings multiply.”

She now concentrates on writing down five things that have made her grateful on a daily basis.

Oprah found that the more she journaled about the experiences she was grateful for, the more positive her perspective on life became. She realised the immense power the simple act of translating thoughts to words gave her.

“You have to write them down. It’s very different from just saying ‘I’m grateful for today’. You have to physically write them down because there’s power in the words.”

Nelson Mandela

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

Like Oprah, Nelson Mandela recorded the daily experiences he was grateful for, using journaling to find the light in the darkness during his 27-year imprisonment.

In 1980, he wrote that he was grateful to have milk in his tea, while in January 1990, he described the joy of seeing a flock of ducks clumsily waddling around the Victor Verser Prison compound.

“Suddenly they squawk repeatedly and then file out. I was relieved. They behave far better than my grandchildren. They always leave the house upside down.”

The journaling of these small observations arguably gave Mandela more sustenance than any kind of ration could, regularly reminding him of the simple beauty of life and how his journey remained uncompleted.

“To continue writing holds out the possibility that one day luck may be on our side,” Mandela wrote on June 1, 1970, to Zeni and Zindzi Mandela.

“In the meantime the mere fact of writing down my thoughts and expressing my feeling gives me a measure of pleasure and satisfaction. It is some means of passing on to you my warmest love and goods wishes, and tends to calm down the shooting pains that hit me when I think of you.”

Writing gave Mandela the ability to lay his soul bare.

The understanding and recognition of his emotions enabled him to shed light on a facet of himself that he might have never known existed, and through this, remain strong through the hardships of his life in order to achieve his ultimate purpose.

John D. Rockefeller

“More than once I have gone to luncheon with a number of our heads of department and have seen the sweat start out on the foreheads of some of them when that little red notebook was pulled out.”

This infamous red notebook rarely left the legendary businessman’s side, with Rockefeller oddly delighted by the thought of having every fact and figure of his enterprise residing in his coat pocket.

He regularly recorded notes during tours of his refineries, carefully writing down observations and designs as to how he could make his business more efficient.

The sight of him scribbling in his notebook quickly became known as the symbol of impending change, with Rockefeller renowned for his journal-inspired ideas.

Frida Kahlo

“There must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do… Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.’”

Kahlo’s diary was, unsurprisingly, anything but traditional.

A kaleidoscope of colour and a whirlwind of emotions, Kahlo’s journal paints a lurid picture of the artist’s life.

An intimate and perplexing experience, this recently discovered diary is a blend of words and paintings, a free-form homage to her colourful and often pain-ridden life.

“The diary is the most important work Kahlo ever did,” Claudia Madrazo, the promoter who pushed for the publication of the journal, told Vanity Fair.

“It contains energy, poetry, magic. It reveals a more universal Frida.”

Kahlo was the epitome of stream of consciousness journaling. Her entries withheld nothing, and the inner workings of her creative mind were laid bare on the pages.

Thomas Edison

“Keeping a written record of his work was a significant key to his genius”Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Genius.

Regarded as one of the best examples of journaling enabling the development of great intellect, Edison habitually recorded his thoughts, experiences, and ideas.

His intellectual notebooks are littered with hastily scribbled notes, chemical spills, and the odd rips and burns courtesy of the whirlwind of activity that was taking place.

Edison’s personal journal, on the other hand, was a beautifully ordered affair, with neat and perfectly aligned handwriting that discussed the mundane of everyday life.

The splitting of his two inner narrators is arguably one of the core pillars of his immortal brilliance.

The art of journaling has changed many a life. It’s illustrated the unwritten of path of some of the greatest thinkers of our time, uncovering their visions and giving them the power to achieve their dreams.

Everyone, regardless of their career path, should journal. Whether it’s Branson’s hastily scrawled notebook memos, Oprah’s gratitude-filled memoirs or Kahlo’s art-strewn diaries, journaling is the reoccurring trait many successful people share.

The importance of committing your goals to paper and exploring your deepest emotions cannot be understated, especially if you’re an entrepreneur.

This article was first published by StartupSmart.


You Know It Used To Be Mad Love

Your Brand Promises – Do you deliver, or are they just lies

Woman with long nose isolated on grey wall background. Liar concept. Human face expressions, emotions, feelings.

As with love, businesses make commitments and promises to its clients. The promises that you make must be deliverable both today and tomorrow. Getting clients is hard enough, keeping them is even harder, it’s a long journey and the love grows stronger with time.

As a business owner or executive, you should objectively assess your company’s brand promises and ask yourself:

  • Which promises are easy to keep?
  • Which promises will differentiate your brand from its competitors?
  • Which promises embrace client focus?
  • Which promises are difficult to keep?
  • Which promises distinguish the brand?

You may well ask what makes a brand promise work? Firstly, it must be of value to your target customers; it must be the focus of your organisational culture; it must be different from your competitors’ promise; it must be deliverable; and most importantly it must be simple.

Avoid bad blood with your clients and keep the mad love alive – stay true and deliver on your brand promises

Company Culture – Innovation, Creativity and Agility

A brand  is more than just a name.

Having recently attended a seminar at UTS on Innovation and Creativity with key note speakers Rachel Setti – Organisational Phychologist, Jonothan Deane – Innovation Officer at AMP and Tim Rayner – Digital Philosopher, we took away some key notes.

In today’s competitive marketplace, your organisation (Brand) should aim to create an environment that nurtures unorthodox thinking and its applications in everything it does.

Instead of limiting yourself to traditional metrics such as quality, on-time delivery and revenue generation, you should also measure yourself based on metrics such as value creation (for customers as well as for shareholders) and competitive differentiation.

Foster innovative thinking within your team by encouraging discovery and finding ways to reward time spent on the research required to generate new products, service standards, efficiencies and ideas. Understand that innovation is not the province of top leadership but can come from anyone within the organisation

As part of your ongoing commitment to achieving excellence in service, people standards and innovation, you should also focus on building a training framework that achieves the following:

o   Allow your staff the flexibility to bring new ideas to solve client issues

o   Celebrate courage and have fun doing so

o   Actively seek feedback to help improve your service delivery

o   Celebrate the audacity to make mistakes, then share those learnings

o   Experiment in order to better understand the processes

o   Teaching staff to better understand your clients’ needs and problems

o   Set new challenges from each new learning

Essentially, your business and its brand, at any scale, is a result of understanding your clients and keeping the promises you make. The result will be a strong, resilient and successful brand.

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