Building Brands that Matter

Since you were 5 years old, you have had this dream to create things that made life easier. Being the youngest of 7, and only one of four to survive to adulthood, and with little formal education, and forced at a young age to start work, developing that dream into reality would not be easy.  With curiosity, persistence, the willingness to overcome life’s challenges and the dedication to create new solutions, success occurred. Your name – Thomas Alva Edison, who within the lifespan of 84 years, had acquired a record number of 1,093 patents and was the driving force behind the creation of the phonograph, light bulb, motion picture camera, telephone, telegraph, alkaline storage battery later used in electric vehicles, and the list goes on.

Edison became a brand. The Edison brand went on to be used to name schools, buildings, companies, towns, a flower, museums, and a quick Google search pulls up an additional 32,100,000 results. Did Mr. Edison set out to become ‘a brand’? Likely not. He built things that worked, filled a need, made his inventions accessible, and able to be replicated for a greater number to use and enjoy. Were all his inventions a success? Absolutely not. His idea to build things from cement in 1899 from cabinets to pianos did not gain acceptance due to the expense, though his concrete company was later hired to build Yankee Stadium in the Bronx! Was he a financial wizard throughout his career? He did well, but there were times when lack of money hindered his growth. His solution? Innovate effectively. Persist…and choose partners wisely.

We may not all be “Edisons,” but having a dream and bringing it to fruition requires a similar formula:

  1. Define the dream and the deliverables. This initial thought will become core to your ‘brand’;
  2. Research the need –talk to your audience one on one and truly understand the need you are solving;
  3. Develop and test, test, test the workability and acceptance. This is true for a new set of skis with revolutionary new technology or a new plant-based protein meal;
  4. Naming requires research and testing to ensure it resonates with your target audiences. KISS. The name must reflect the dream and purpose, not an ingredient or style, which could slow growth if the ingredient or style became unpopular. Check to ensure the name works in multiple languages and all variations can be owned not just through legal trademark but through URL search;
  5. Develop, package, define sales channels, launch, promote, communicate, build community, learn from mistakes, continue to build and grow, and don’t forget to keep dreaming and creating;
  6. Listen to feedback. Tweak as necessary – share the process. Stay connected;
  7. Choose your team wisely. Stick together. Listen to your gut reactions. Understand who people truly are, how they deal with adversity, enhance strengths and grow, together;
  8. Build trust;
  9. Maintain perspective and continue to grow;
  10. Repeat 1-9.

Like Edison, you can change the world. It starts with your dream. Your brand is the bridge to trust. Trust is created by maintaining authenticity, integrity, and consistent results through your brand. We are here to support your journey from Dream to Mainstream.

Gillian Christie
CEO, Christie & Co
25 years of helping ethical leaders take their Dreams to Mainstream


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