When trying to talk intelligently about brands, I always find myself in two minds over whether to refer to Apple, Coke and Nike. On the one hand they are so constantly and so casually dragged into any uninformed conversation on the power of brands that it can be hard to take seriously yet another eulogy/rant about them. On the other hand, they are indisputably masterful at this branding game.
Perhaps the way that we should think of them is as a type of shorthand for what branding can achieve, a marker to help guide other brands’ performance. Not as something to mark the outer limits of branding, but to point beyond themselves, to light the path for others. Don’t imagine that your brand can be as good as Apple, Coke or Nike. Imagine that your brand can be even better than them.