Why big businesses can’t innovate new brands

Here’s my take on why big businesses can’t build innovative new brands as quickly as small companies or individuals… their motivation is all wrong… everything they do is for the money.

A brand manager is not working for a big company because they have an insane idea that they believe in so passionately that they are willing to mortgage their house and free time to develop. The brand manager wants a job… and this is the point… they don’t want to lose that job.

Management in big companies are there because they seek security not because they have a hobby or an idea that is so crazy that it might revolutionise an industry. Heck if they had ideas like that, they’d probably start their own business.

I’m not saying these guys are dumb…they’re not. It’s easier for a big company to buy a smaller company that is doing something insane than create that insanity themselves…and these guys are excellent at spotting someone doing something great.

Microsoft, Apple Computers and Billabong are just some of the big brands out there that were started by people who were in love with their hobby and were insane enough to keep going even though there was no money in it at first. It wasn’t about the money… it wasn’t about the money… do you get that?

The two Steves (Jobs and Wosniak) were tinkering with graphic controllers, hard drives and other bits and pieces, not because they saw a buck in it but because they loved doing that sort of thing. The product of their love went on to become the Mac.

Billabong came about because the waters in Victoria, Australia were cold and diving wetsuits were the only thing to wear to keep you warm but were too bulky and restricted movement. So a group of people got together to design surf wear that suited the sport.

Microsoft. You have a guy who never needed the money because some relative left him a small fortune. That’s what makes Gates so scary… he’s not doing this for the money… he doesn’t need it, and never had. He just loved geeky stuff like code etc.

These products did not start out as brands… they started out as places where people went because they connected with the idea or product. Picture a group of nerdy, long-haired computer geeks designing programs for their Apple SEs and you get the idea…these guys were in love with what they were doing. The fact that some of their ideas went on to make millions is a by-product. The guys that invented the spreadsheet were members of the apple user group and they’re not rich because they were too busy adding features etc to patent their idea.

Published in: on November 7, 2005 at 4:13 pm Comments (0)

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