10 Principles of a Sticky Brand

Growing a sticky brand is a choice. It’s a choice to stand out and be remarkable. It’s a choice to build meaningful relationships with your customers. It’s a choice to cut your own path, and innovate in your industry.

But what does it take to have a sticky brand?

I was inspired by Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles For Good Design. Dieter Rams was the Chief of Design at Braun from 1961 to 1997. His approach to design and the products he created influenced a generation of industrial designers including Steve Jobs and Jony Ive.

I adapted Rams’ principles of “good design” to create my own set of principles for what it takes to grow a sticky brand.

10 Principles of a Sticky Brand

Innovative: Companies that stand out and are remarkable are innovators. They don’t follow the pack or go where everyone else has already been. They look for new opportunities. They innovate, and they challenge the status quo.

Functional: The products and services work. They’re not burdened with too many features, they are straightforward. They deliver on their promise.

Attractive: There’s no such thing as an ugly sticky brand. Companies with sticky brands value design. They invest in the look, feel and functionality of their products, and carry through effective design to every customer touch point.

Relevant: Sticky brands fit the times. They have a personality, they’re interesting, and they stand out as leaders and innovators. People are attracted to them, because they are relevant.

Energy: Sticky brands have an energy and vibrancy about them. Employees are excited to work for the company, customers appreciate and talk about the products, and there’s an inspirational quality to the brand.

Understandable: Sticky brands speak in the language of their customers. People clearly know who they are, what they do, who they serve and what they stand for.

Honest: Companies with a sticky brand are self-assured and purposeful. They deliver what they promise, and they take pride in the work they deliver.

Long-Lasting: Companies with a sticky brand behave more like artisans than factories. They create products and services that are functional, well-designed and work. There’s a timeless quality to the service.

Thorough: Sticky brands sweat the little things. They don’t ship buggy, partially finished products. Their attention to detail is absolute, and radiates through their products, services, hiring practices, operations, marketing and every customer touch point.

Less is more: Companies with a sticky brand are good at saying, “No.” They are driven by purpose, and make decisions strategically. Their focus and commitment make them experts in their fields, and stand out as remarkable in their categories.

Each principle on its own is not enough to create a sticky brand. The 10 Principles of a Sticky Brand have to come together, and work in concert. And when they do the results are magical. Sticky brands achieve higher profits, more market share and they are their customers’ first choice.

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