Top 5 ways to build an iconic brand with longevity


When you’re getting a brand together, you’ll obviously want it to become as iconic as the likes of Nike or Coca Cola. So today, I’ll be giving a masterclass in branding, using my mate, the legendary guitarist, Slash, as an example.

Fun fact, me and Slash actually go way back. I was the one who first introduced Slash to Axl Rose back in the early ‘80s, and I toured with Guns N Roses as their road manager back in the day. Lots of fun times backstage… But those are some stories for another day.

5. Give yourself a memorable name

Your brand name needs to a titbit of delight. It needs to withstand the test of time and be easy to say and recall. It may not need to spell out who you are or what you do, but it should relate in some way and have substance. It’s your Border Collie in the K9 world, hard-working, playful  and always ready to inspire anything that crosses its path.

The name is the first thing people mention in conversations, emails, social and websites and so much more. Don’t mean to scare you, just saying. Get it right and it will connect with and capture the imagination of the people that you want to reach.

So get thinking. Is it to be named after you, the founder? Or are you a metaphor or descriptive person? Each type have their good points and bad. What do you think when you hear the name ‘Slash’? Someone shredding on a guitar? Obviously. Compare that with Slash’s once GNR replacement, ‘Buckethead’, who unsurprisingly liked to don a bucket on his head. Needless to say, people didn’t exactly respond too well to that one. It was a little bit too on the snout.

4. Set out your ideals

Know what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. Whether it’s an entrepreneurial venture, a new product or service or a tasty biscuit, ideals are essential to a creative process. Let me hit you with some key words. Vision – you’ll need a passionate leader. Meaning – stand for something. Authenticity – be clear about your positioning and competitive difference. Longevity, flexibility and value. Slash has always had a clear drive and has stayed true to who he is no matter who he’s playing with; whether it’s Guns N Roses, or Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas – Slash’s guitar sound is easy to pick out when you hear it on the radio – it’s distinctly his.

3. Create a distinct look

Shapes and colours, is it symbolic or a play on words? The possibilities are endless. They all have a place in this wide world, and there are no rights or wrongs. Each type of identity has its ups and downs. To help you on your way, take a step back, and think about all the brands you interact with. Ask yourself which stands out the strongest and why. Then consider how and where, you would like to be seen by others. This isn’t perfect but it gets you thinking and may help you determine whether its a simple, glanceable marquee or something more detailed. If you see long black curls and a top hat, it’s instantly recognisable as Slash. That’s what your brand needs; a signature look.

2. Get a good team behind you

And get good people to support your vision. They need to be committed, thoughtful problem solvers with an ability to acknowledge different viewpoints. It’s no good just being talented individuals, you’ll need to play ball together. Shed the stereotypes and think, maybe a lawyer does have a creative thought, maybe a creative can think logically. Just look at Slash, he never worked alone, whether it was in Guns N Roses, Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver, or even in his latest solo output – he still constantly collaborates with other artists to make the best music.

1. Produce quality output  and be awesome

Once you’ve got your brand in place, you need to make sure you’re giving your customer’s something that’s consistently the best quality. Give them a reason to keep coming back to you and build up that brand loyalty by always delivering for your customers. In other words, just be awesome. Slash doesn’t have to try to be awesome, he just is. When you know who you are, and you’re true to that, it’ll shine through, and your audience will love you for it.