What we can learn about branding from Bradley Wiggins

posted on January 11th 2013 in Branding with 0 Comments

In an age where results are imperative, strong branding makes the difference. But many people don’t really get what great branding is all about – so we’ve employed ‘Wiggo’* to help demonstrate what successful branding is all about.

*Ahem, not strictly true, he wasn’t available. Something about trimming his side-burns.

So here he is. A winner. Gold medalist. Champion on two wheels in France. So what can we learn from him about branding…

1. Think and plan

Overnight success is for lottery winners. In an age where businesses expect instant results, spending the time on thinking, testing and planning out a brand can be seen as a luxury. It isn’t.

Wiggo didn’t win the Tour de France or his gold medals with a few weeks of practice. Athletes have thought about how they are going to win – you’ll need to spend time devising a branding strategy.

For instance:

  • Strengths and differences: like judging whether you’re good at climbing hills, sprints or just relentlessly consistent, you need to assess what makes your brand different.
  • Competition: a pesky team of Italians could be Bradley’s undoing, and just like him you’ll need to think about your competition so you know how to react, and what sets you apart.
  • Tactics: every race will have been planned, and your brand will need to know how it sounds, looks, feels, works, reacts to customers and is promoted. No one gets overnight brand awareness or to page 1 on Google without months, even years of effort.
  • Total focus on the outcome: Olympians and Tour De France riders have a single-minded focus on the outcome – winning. Your brand needs to plan an ‘outcome’, so you don’t just work on the principles of creating ‘a product that sells’. You need to consider that more customers now demand brands that deliver an outcome that goes beyond simply getting the product, e.g. it needs to enhance the community, it delivered against its brand promise and delighted, it didn’t blight the landscape, it pays its taxes, it gave me the tools AND showed me how to do it better.

Think about it, in an age where being talked about on social media and websites is key, your brand has to work really hard.

2. The right team

Wiggo’s team of riders, mechanics and coaching staff have become legendary, and for good reason. Experts ensure he is prepared mentally, physically, nutritionally and mechanically.

These people have different perspectives and more importantly different skills. Wiggo’s great at riding a bike, just like you’ll be good at running your particular business – sometimes you just might need the right expertise and a different perspective to get your branding into shape.

3. Be relentless application

Once planned, prepared and ready for action Wiggo doesn’t simply use the morning ride to fetch the papers as a way to stay at the top of his game. Relentless practise, effort and work is required.

Once your brand is planned out it will need that same relentless dedication so that when you do have a chance to make an impact, customers know it’s you and everything works towards that brand plan. The simple things we have talked about before can so often be overlooked, like using the right logos, fonts, colours and imagery styles consistently.

Don’t just think about physical things. Think a bit deeper and ensure your people know everything they need to about what the brand stands for, how it should sound and how you want them to behave to live up to the brand promise. If your people understand the brand they can deliver outcomes that keep on supporting and strengthening your branding strategy.

It helps in many organisations to guideline how your brand should look, feel and act – give your people the brand story and branding guidelines so they are engaged and will know how they can look after it day in, day out. They’ll feel engaged too. And your brand will get stronger.

Any views? Let us know. We’re gonna get on our bikes.

We would love to hear your comments