advice on how to build meaningful brands

October 11, 2018

48 | Uniting people and brand – with Brian Linton

Why you’ve got to listen to this episode:

From a very young age, Brian had the instinct and the tenacity to turn his hobby into a business. That kind of grit is probably what has made it possible for Brian to turn his passion and a deep sense of responsibility into a successful business.

When I say successful, I mean it in the way Brian and his co-founder Mike would probably define it. Yes, they have turned a very small business where was just the two of them back in 2010, selling a few t-shirts into a business that now has 3 brick and mortar stores, an online store and sells through hundreds of retailers all over the United States and Canada. Their product line has dramatically expanded and now consists of camping gear and apparel for men, women and kids. But United by Blue has also removed over 1 million pounds of waste from oceans and waterways, one pound per product they sell, they are a B certified company and their stores are LEED certified.

On top of that, they bring people together to organize clean-ups and they are even trying to turn Black Friday into Blue Friday.  Instead of spending your Friday purchasing stuff you don’t need, you can join your neighbours and spend an hour cleaning up your local park. Good idea, right?

So yes, they are successful but in many more significant ways than just making money. And they have achieved success without giving up on their principles and their vision. This meant that all their decisions were way harder. As a company staying true to their brand values and purpose meant much costlier, more time consuming and much more complex choices.

As a company, staying true to your brand values and purpose can feel like climbing a building from the outside during a hurricane rather than taking the elevator up. It’s not easy. And for those of you who are trying to do it, you know exactly what I mean and this episode is for you.

Who can benefit from listening in:

The United by Blue story is a great one, particularly for small businesses to hear. When you’re starting out you hear a lot of examples and business lessons from those big brands that have made it big. You know, Apple, Nike, Starbucks… Don’t get me wrong, these brands are great for a reason and there are many lessons we can learn from them, but for a small business, they seem unattainable.  They are in a different league and it’s just very hard to relate. And although United by Blue has had many successes they started very small, like two buddies and a few t-shirts small! And their “overnight success” took three companies and over a decade.

So, if you are a small business owner or manager, or an entrepreneur, hearing from companies like United by Blue who is experiencing success but maybe only a few steps ahead of you is much more relatable.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • “If you have a great team and a great product, you can build a pretty amazing brand”. Brian Linton
  • “Responsibility is not the easiest way to do business, but it’s so important to be a responsible business.” Brian Linton
  • “A remarkable brand is a brand worth of remark because they are different, they exceptional and outstanding. Unlike their competition, these brands have taken the path of most resistance.” Luiza Campos
  • “Great brands don’t happen overnight. It takes time to build an amazing brand.” Brian Linton
  • You attract the right team by attracting people who share the same values and who want to achieve the brand vision.

Links to resources mentioned in this episode



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