Why Phoenix?

I started Phoenix based on a simple belief: the work on your brand is never done. A brand is not some static thing that can be encapsulated in a power point deck or guidelines stuck in a desk drawer. A brand is an idea. A living thing that must be managed and maintained as the world changes. If not, it cannot possibly stay relevant.

Brands are stories that help people understand the role that a product, service, ideology, anything really - plays in people’s lives. They are a part of how we navigate day to day life and understand the world, whether we like it or not. I believe brands should exist for useful navigation - helping people make better decisions - so it stands to reason that as the context changes, the story must too.

Today things have gotten interesting. You can’t help people make better choices while standing for indifference. It has become imperative to not only define your story in current context, but to live it everyday and do things that express the meaning and values.

National Geographic is a great example. The brand began with a story about furthering education and understanding through exploring geography. Today, they have stayed relevant by constantly redefining what the word ‘geography’ means - and therefore the stories they can tell.

January 2017 Gender Revolution issue. Would NatGeo have told this story 20 years ago?

January 2017 Gender Revolution issue. Would NatGeo have told this story 20 years ago?

When National Geographic started the definition of geography was literal – it was about going to places readers couldn’t have seen otherwise.
But the definition of geography has broadened over time to include the geography of gender, social geography, human geography and more.
— Emanuele Madeddu, EVP, Global Brand Strategy, National Geographic

How do you make Just do it meaningful for urban youth today, for example? This is not an easy puzzle to solve, is exactly what Nike is doing.

Nike has always told a story of self-belief, but today they equate self-belief with standing up for what you believe in. Nike has made itself relevant beyond the sports field, but to do that, they definitely had to take sides.

At the same time, Nike expresses the meaning of Just do it for women slightly differently. It’s still about self-belief, but this time, believing in yourself against the odds and despite social norms.

Transformation is not only about the business - it’s about the brand as well. You can restructure and streamline and pivot to new services, but if you are telling the same old story it’s not going to work.

Letting go of what no longer serves you from a brand standpoint is not easy - and the way the world works, you need to have the foresight to do it before anyone else sees it’s not working. But you must be willing to rethink or reinvent your story, sometimes destroying the old, to re-emerge as something new and better that resonates today. Hence, the Phoenix.

In reinvention, you can find relevance.