Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dyson disses branding

James Dyson is a contrarian.

The latest evidence of this came in a statement he made at a design conference on Tuesday.

"There's only one word that's banned in our company: brand. We're only as good as our latest product. I don't believe in brand at all."

That's the beauty of being the founder. You don't have to believe in brand because you are the brand.

As long as Dyson is head of his own company, it will be about solving real problems with superior engineering and iconic design.

The challenge will come when he's no longer around to provide guidance and exert control. When the things he "knows" aren't codified in a way that allows his successors to pick up the baton and lead the company in his absence, the company can fall apart quickly.

It happened to Wendy's after Dave Thomas passed away.

It happened to Apple when Steve Jobs was fired in 1985.

You don't have to call it a brand – in fact, I'm becoming less and less a fan of that word due to its over- and mis-use in the past decade – but you have to establish and communicate your company's bedrock principles to ensure it will live well beyond your mortal years.

It may be morbid, but there's truth in the saying, "you don't have a brand until the founder dies."


  1. Funny enough. Coming from a "mark" that is one of the most consistently sticking to its vision and design.... sounds very "brand"-like. You can hate the buzzword (and I do hate most of them), but Dyson is following every principle of "brand" stewardship in the book.

  2. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.