Many companies and startups rush to scale too quickly with expanded offerings and products, and author and brand consultant Soon Yu wishes they would stop.
“Before you scale or try something new, think about ‘What makes us special, unique, relevant? What are we trying to do?’” Yu said at the Dig South tech conference last month in Charleston.
Yu most recently served as the global vice president of innovation at VF Corp., parent organization to more than 30 global apparel companies, including The North Face and Vans. He wrote Iconic Advantage, a book focused on helping companies create relevant and lasting brands. He said firms should focus on what makes them good and grow from there.
“If you innovate where you have some strengths ... innovate where you’re already stronger, where you already have momentum, where you’ve already got competitive advantage ... it’s going to be faster, it’s going to be cheaper, it’s going to be easier to do than always going after the hard, new stuff,” Yu said.
Yu pointed to some of the most well-known iconic brands that “make products that are timelessly relevant,” such as Nike, Coca-Cola, BMW, Campbell’s and Louis Vuitton.
He said that the brands that are most impactful make people feel something and are instantly recognizable and that the companies behind them innovate on their signature products.
“We often focus on shiny new objects and lose sight of what we’re really good at. Or at startups, we try to be everything to everyone and good at everything,” Yu said. “Focus on what you’re actually good at and double down on that. You’re more likely to connect with customers, make money and have a lasting brand. Focus on ‘What makes us