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If you want to build a brand that really lasts, having a message that lives with one person is a dangerous thing. Ken Meyers, founder of the Smartfood brand, which he sold to Frito Lay, discussed why getting other viewpoints is critical to creating an impactful message that resonates with a wider and more enduring audience.

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Robert Glazer

Meghan Lynch

Ruth Lund

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As an owner or founder, it can be difficult to let others into the vision for a brand. This brand vision is often something that is highly personal, and therefore it becomes protected and guarded against any outside influence. We have this tendency to project and overvalue our own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

That, however, limits the potential of a brand strategy, and can even set it up for failure. As Meyers notes, we live in a world that has such transparency and interconnectivity, it makes it almost impossible to build a brand in a vacuum anymore.

Instead, there is an opportunity to feed the creative process in a positive way when we proactively gather feedback and contributions from all the other stakeholders who either are, or are going to be in the mix. This allows us to get contradictory ideas, challenge our assumptions, and think more broadly about the possibilities that exist. By shutting out any kind of challenge to our ideas, we run the risk of falling victim to confirmation bias. We lose the creative tension that identifying multiple ways to solve problems provides.

Meyers reminds us, “That’s what the creative process in many respects is all about. And building a brand at the outset requires a tremendous amount of creativity, but it also requires insight and a willingness to believe that your idea may not be the only, or the best, or the most effective path to get where you’re trying to go.”