Issue No. 70: Shake ups, Feuds, and Authenticity



Under Armour founder Kevin Plank once said,“Brand is not a product, that’s for sure; it’s not one item. It’s an idea, it’s a theory, it’s a meaning, it’s how you carry yourself. It’s aspirational, it’s inspirational.” But can you teach someone how to do it and do it well?

Nike founder Phil Knight on paying $35 for the iconic logo, which he first called fat lightning bolts and chubby check marks: 

When Knight saw the revised logo, “I frowned, scratched my cheek. ‘You guys like it more than I do,’ I said. ‘But we’re out of time. It’ll have to do.’ … Now we just needed a name to go with this logo I didn’t love. Over the next few days we kicked around dozens of ideas, until two leading candidates emerged. Falcon. And Dimension Six.” (Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator of Nike)

While Plank has maintained a strict and obsessive brand focus, Knight was originally nonchalant. Knight was more of a “the product is all that matters” type of executive who was clearly influenced by a brand-minded thinker, down the line.  From the founding day, Plank was the master-brander for Under Armour whereas, it is clear that Knight delegated that to someone else. The technician is rarely the mapper of the brand’s genome.

Branding isn’t a data-driven process, nor is it a science. It is difficult and unrelenting, when done well. While I don’t think that it can be taught to just anyone, I do believe that brand management and its many facets can be taught. I’d love to hear your thoughts by responding to today’s last word.

See more of the issue here.

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