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This presentation is about the people that inspire us, our brand thinking and our approach in helping brands to be the best that they can possibly be!
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Innovators that inspire us
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This presentation is about the people that inspire
us, our brand thinking and our approach in helping
brands to be the best that they can possibly be!
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Our Brilliant Dozen
Not the usual suspects I am afraid– that would be far too boring
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“May you live in interesting times”
Old Chinese Proverb – and we sure live in interesting brand times
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“He who knows himself, and his enemy need not fear the outcome of a
thousand battles, for he has already won” Master Sun Tzu – the Art of War
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Master Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu inspires us because he wrote one of the first books on
strategy – The Art of War.
“All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can
see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved” Master Sun Tzu,
The Art of War, Vi: weak points and strong.
One can actually argue that this piece of literature is a prime
example of systemic thinking strategy. In other words it is about the
complete system and the patterns and not about one core thing or
some sustainable competitive advantage or USP.
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“At his very core lay a unquenchable lust for power” – Genghis Kahn
The secret history of the Mongols
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Anyone who has ever read the “Secret History of the Mongols” will
testify to the fact that everything the Khan did was strategic.
From changing Mongol culture to writing a set of laws and values
that helped him govern his nation (It was called the Yassa) to
building a powerful brand that stood for fear, power and domination
to those that apposed it. All the while he treated his generals as
It is amazing to think that before an internet age, telephones and
television, he lived in a time where information was transmitted
verbally, everyone knew and feared the Khan. His reputation – his
brand – preceded him.
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“When you have attained the Way of Strategy, there will be not one thing that you cannot
understand” Miyamoto Musashi – The book of five rings
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For Musashi there was strategy in everything we do, in every facet of
your life and every single action. Strategy was everywhere.
He inspires us as everything he did was based on strategy and
perfecting his art.
Musashi was incredible at systematically building his own brand and
becoming a cultural icon long before his death – famously known as
the best swordsman and Ronen of his time.
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Claude C Hopkins
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Claude C Hopkins
For an Ad man Claude C Hopkins did some pretty big things. He is
responsible for creating the cultural habit of brushing teeth and
building the Pepsodent brand. All through understanding human
beings and their behaviour. (Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit, 2012)
He was also one of the first guys to talk about the fact that there are
certain scientific laws that successful advertising and brand
communication need to adhere to.
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Carol S Pearson
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Carol S Pearson
We love Carol S Pearson as she was one of the people to say that we
need a better system to help brands create, control and stabilise the
meaning behind brands.
In her iconic book The Hero and the Outlaw she gave us such a
system – an Archetypal Identity System that could be used to
position and develop brands.
All of this happened about a decade ago already.
We love Archetypal Brand development and use it on a day to day
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We love Idris Mootee as he gave us the 60 Minute Brand Strategist.
In this book, he gave us an incredibly powerful and simplified version
of everything that a brand strategists needs to know – in 60 minutes.
He told us that brands are becoming like Ideologies, that brands
build human “type” of relationships and that brands need more
meaning behind it… in it he said:
“Like human beings, all brands are born equal. The trick is to prove
one isn’t. Branding is the art and science of identifying and fulfilling
human physical and emotional needs by capturing attention,
imagination and emotion long enough to make money from it.”
This book in part inspired us to create our very own Human Centred Systemic Thinking methodology.
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Marty (The Legend) Neumeier
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Apart from writing a few of the greatest books on brand ever written
(just our humble opinion of course – so do not shoot us), i.e. The
Brand Gap and Zig & Zag, he also told us that brands need to answer
three very simple questions:
1. Who are you?
2. What do you do?
3. Why does it matter?
If they cannot do that… then there is something fundamentally
wrong with them. Can your brand clearly answer those questions?
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“Marketers and branding people have been
throwing meatballs and spaghetti at walls for
years, and hoping it would stick”
Martin Lindtstrom – Buy-ology
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We are inspired by Martin Lindstrom as he gave us a different
perspective on brand building, apart from helping us understand the
importance of thinking of the sensory (read experiential)
components of building a brand, he also told us that a brand needs
to become like a religion.
He also opened our minds to the importance of the Neuroscience
behind the effective building of brands.
It is essential that we start thinking of the Neuroscience behind
brand building – the goal should be for a brand to break into the
Basel Ganglia and become a force of habit in a consumers life.
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We just love Seth Godin as he says things like:
“I think that while markets are conversations, marketing is a story.
Starbucks creates conversations among customers, so does Apple.
The NYSE makes a fortune permitting people to interact with each
other. But great marketing is storytelling, and if you’ve been to a
Broadway show lately, you’ll notice that audience participation is
discouraged. That doesn’t mean that great playwrights don’t listen!
They do. They, like great marketers, listen relentlessly. They engage
in offline conversations constantly. They poll and they do censuses
and most important, they have true conversations with small groups
of real people. But THEN, they tell a story”
Source: Ten Questions with Seth Godin: http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/08/ten_questions_w.html
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We think that AMAZING brands
tell stories – powerful stories
rooted in a strong purpose and
identity. Ask Genghis Khan?
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“Simon Sinek - Start With Why: How
Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take
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Apart from his amazing TED Talk on the Golden Circles and why
some leaders inspire and other don’t, we are inspired by Simon
Sinek because he got us thinking of something very powerful…
What is the purpose of your brand – always start with the Why
behind your brand.
There is more to building a brand than a USP, compelling
differentiator or even a personality – that is all stuff that a brand
needs to have anyway – what it essentially cannot do without… is a
purpose. Could you do without a purpose in life?
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We are inspired by Jim Stengel as he gave us a very interesting book
called Grow. Like Simon Sinek he also said that the most powerful
brands out there are all driven by a higher ideal of making a
difference in peoples lives.
Hence he says that Red Bull does not exist to sell energy drinks, but
to energise the world.
Imagine if all brands where driven by a higher ideal of adding value
to peoples lives?
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We are inspired by Byron Sharpe as he gave us a fresh perspective
on marketing and what creates brand success.
According to him things like brand differentiation is just a myth – it is
more important to be distinct, relevant, available and creating a
brand that creates memory structures.
It completely challenges conventional and archaic marketing
thinking that destroys great brands and brands with potential.
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1. Continuously reach all buyers of the category (communication and distribution) – avoid
2. Ensure the brand is easy to buy (communicate how the brand fits with the users life)
3. Get noticed (grab attention and focus on brand salience to prime the users mind)
4. Refresh and build memory structures (respect existing associations that make the brand
easy to notice and easy to buy)
5. Create and use distinctive brand assets (use sensory cues to get noticed and stay top of
6. Be consistent (avoid unnecessary changes, whilst keeping the brands fresh and
7. Stay competitive (keep the brand is easy to buy and avoid giving excuses not to buy (i.e.
by targeting a particular group)
Professor Byron Sharpe – How Brands Grow, 2011 (Source: (HTTP://BRANDGENETICS.COM/))
The 7 NEW rules to brand growth
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1. It is about the bigger picture
2. It is about systemic thinking
3. The power of purpose guides all
4. It is all in the brain man
5. The rules of the brand success game are changing
6. Be human centred in all you do
7. Find the patterns that rule your system
8. Brand building is more science than not
9. Simple & functional is the key
10. a brand = system of meaning
What we learn from these peeps
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Andre le Roux:
083 625 4348
Thys de Beer:
082 565 5508
Our Contact Details: