Brand Independence Day: Staying in the Black from One of the Men in Black

While I have many mentors when it comes to business success, branding, and customer experience delivery, seldom do I look to actors or actresses to give me wisdom in these areas. Recently, however, I was taken aback by the succinct and powerful branding perspective offered by Will Smith.

Will Smith started his career as a rapper in the late 1980’s, later starred on the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and went on to a blockbuster movie career with films like Independence Day and Men in Black. He has been nominated for five Golden Globe, two Academy awards and has won four Grammy Awards. Forbes magazine has labeled him the “most bankable star” and as of 2014 his movies alone had grossed $6.6 billion.

Enough about our teacher, on to the lesson…

Recently Ad Age captured an interview with Will Smith in which he gave three principles for brand success. While they might not make you, the most “bankable star” or guarantee $6.6 billion in revenue, they will assure brand sustainability. As per Will Smith, here are three components essential to a great brand:

1        Start with a meaningful and profound idea

2        The product should always be the core of what you do

3        Try to improve lives

In a general sense, Will Smith understands that no amount of marketing can sustain success for a concept that fails to connect with its audience. Additionally, customers expect that a product or service will meet their needs and demand operational excellence when we deliver those products and services to them. Finally, if our intention is self-focused (e.g. profit-taking) and not “other focused (mission-based and committed to enhancing the lives of those we serve) customers will churn.

Brands (be they individuals like Will Smith or corporate entities) depend upon ideas, products and purpose. Thanks Will for being a brand that not only entertains but transforms!

Smoke over black background

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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