Whenever you get the chance to meet with or listen to a creator. Do. It's an experience which never fails to inspire or motivate as you hear, first hand, the unique story behind their product and brand. It's a reminder that brands are built with blood, sweat and tears - even when it appears, retrospectively, effortless. And so it was on Wednesday evening with a talk by Giles English one of the two brothers who co-founded The Bremont Watch Company back in 2002.
The experience was heightened because it was in the intimacy of a private club and there was ample opportunity for candour and questions. However, I suspect that such is the authentic and honest approach that Bremont make to their work it's a very consistent message !
Afterwards over dinner my guest (he is both a fellow brand expert and a lovely of all things horological) and I discussed what makes the brand tick.
Firstly, it's important to recognize that what the English brothers have achieved is nothing short of miraculous - it would have been hard enough without being set against the backdrop of economic downturn and competitor brand consolidation into the mass luxury maisons. And all without the financial backing of a parent brand. But turn those facts on their head and you can see that those negatives are a contributing factor to the survival and success of Bremont.
Successful brands require three things;
- a credible product proposition (watches hand-built in the UK)
- a clear set of defining principles (precision, durability, aviation, mechanical, British)
- passionate consistency
Bremont has all three but more than anything I put their success down to passionate consistency. The individuals that had the idea, founded the company and continue to run every aspect are the same. That ensures product consistency but also executional consistency. Ironically a few days later the UK marketing news covered another luxury brand I follow which is on its third creative agency in two years. It almost seems to be a truth that the bigger the budget, the bigger the egos and the more need to "chop and change" leaving the consumer confused and the brand in question becalmed.
That passion also ensures that every penny is spent wisely - events, advertising, partnerships are not frivolous but sweated - there is always an opportunity cost to the activity so the right decisions are made.
Bremont is, thankfully, not the only example but it's the one which has made the most lasting impression on me. It's a reminder that the limiting factors to success are passion and consistency - not investment.
All of us involved in brand creation and management would do well to remember that.