31. Wisdom from Scott Bedbury

10 Nov

Ideas come from everywhere.

Bedbury had a meeting with Mattel to discuss the future of their Barbie products. As he was leaving for the meeting, his daughter asked where he was going. He said he was going to visit Mattel, and when she didn’t understand he said he was going to visit Barbie. He then asked what she would like to tell Barbie. The response from his six-year-old daughter was “enough with the pink and dump Ken.” Later that day at the meeting, every major person in Mattel has said their ideas or opinions. Bedbury is one of the last, so he tells the group his daughter’s request and the room fell silent. Apparently, Ken doll was inspired by the son of a man who was high up in the company. The man next to Bedbury spoke up and said “Ken is fair game.” Mattel will now be coming out with a whole new line of male dolls for Barbie to date. If it were not for the idea from Bedbury’s daughter, Mattel may have never had the guts to change Ken.

Focus on self directed products.

Scott Bedbury spends time on photography and supporting issues that will actually help the world. It’s important to work on project you enjoy that are bigger than yourself.

You can’t brand a company that doesn’t have a soul.

Starbucks did years of research to figure out how to bring the soul out in their brand. Bedbury believes that Microsoft could have been a great brand. He did not want to work with them because they think “the brand is just not that important” to them. If you ever find out that a company has this belief, RUN.

It’s not just what the product does, it’s how it feels to you.

Companies should take ideas from everywhere and they must believe in their own brand. It has to feel like something to every employee before it can feel like something to a consumer.

What separates brands now is emotion.

What makes emotion is storytelling. Emotions drive our most important buying decisions. Think about the most important decision we make–who we marry.

Walk the talk.

You have to walk it and talk it. Every employee has to represent the brand. One of the best ways to tell a story is with visuals and videos.

Surround yourself with people who are resilient.

Scott Bedbury worked for Nike as a brand manager. Every single employee at Nike was different, but they all respect the brand and they all respect each other. Surround yourself with people who love the brand. There is a natural gravity in every company that pulls it’s employees in so that they all act and think the same. Speak up. Stay different.

Brands evolve and die.

Get out of your comfort zone. Starbucks had to think “what other than coffee can we sell that fits in with our brand?”

Be a Goliath, but act like a David and carry a slingshot.

Phil Knight, founder and CEO of Nike, knows that his company is a Goliath and runs the industry, but he runs his company like a David.


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