Being ‘Original’ in Branding
By Lorena Kwek, Senior Brand Consultant, SG
Applying insights on branding from ‘Originals’ by Adam Grant
Behind many successful businesses or initiatives are compelling fresh propositions – or Originality – which Adam Grant uncovers in his latest book, Originals. As a book on original thinking, there are many new perspectives shared which challenge common assumptions on new innovations and disruptions.
What particularly stood out was the case Adam Grant presented on Warby Parker, a billion dollar startup by his students from Wharton. Quoting the book, the starting point of original ideas is curiosity. “Vuja de, the opposite of déjà vu, is about seeing new perspectives in something familiar. The Warby Parker founders have accepted expensive prescription glasses as a default until a vuja de event inspired them to start questioning”.
Vuja de, the opposite of déjà vu, is about seeing new perspectives in something familiar. The Warby Parker founders have accepted expensive prescription glasses as a default until a vuja de event inspired them to start questioning.
Risk averse, or risk takers?
Contrary to popular belief, successful entrepreneurs are more likely to be risk-averse than risk takers, and they take steps to minimise the risks undertaken. The Warby Parker founders had jobs lined up in case their venture did not work out, and conducted many surveys and focus groups to test and improve their ideas before launching. Over 2000 names were developed and many were tested over a 6-month long period before they finally settled on ‘Warby Parker’. They were fast to start but were ready to slow down for the necessary research and redesign to mitigate risks of failure.
While it may appear to be an entrepreneur’s manual on first look, Originals has shared many insights on the creation of original ideas and their execution, which are applicable for individuals, leaders and established enterprises, and also in brand building. In the same way successful brands are about having simple original ideas that are differentiated and resonate with audiences, it requires brand owners and consultants alike, to step out of their comfort zone to challenge the status quo, in order to identify unique and ownable brand spaces.
Being open-minded to new ideas from both internal and external stakeholders is a good first step towards originality. Having the right context or depth is fundamental, but immersing in new domains that facilitate cross-category learning can bring fresh perspectives to incubate creative solutions.
Taking a strategic approach that constantly seeks feedback from stakeholders to improve products and services is a tedious but potentially rewarding process. It is important to appreciate that good ideas and brands take time to formulate, and there is merit in procrastination rather than in rushing into half-baked brand launches, which many brand owners may be guilty of.
Original thinking can come from anyone, anytime and anywhere. We can all take inspiration from successes like Warby Parker and many others cited in Originals, to champion original thinking in our daily lives, be it at work, at home or on a new venture.