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Bigger Than This Review For #Careerlions

Bigger Than This Review For #Careerlions

Not too long ago, I read Bigger Than This: How To Turn Any Venture Into an Admired Brand by Fabian Geyrhalter. He is the author of the bestseller How to Launch a Brand, in the process of creating a strong brand and the mishaps. Geyrhalter is a renowned brand strategist and founder of a consultancy firm specializing in turning ventures into brands. His columns and work have also been published by many, including Forbes, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post. His graphic design work is award winning and he is very successful in this field of work. In this blog, I will share with you my review and interesting ideas covered in the book.

“The ‘why’ and ‘how’ are winning over the ‘what’.”
— Geyrhalter

Successful Brand Traits

Geyrhalter identifies and elaborates on the eight “brand traits” that make successful commodity brands: story, belief, cause, heritage, delight, transparency, solidarity, and, individuality. They will allow you to connect with your audience on a deeper level and stand out from the masses. In the next sections, I will provide some more context on these brand traits. Before that, I would like you to consider this advice to put the following ideas into action. He urges you to formulate a positioning statement to derive your bigger story, focusing on the “because”:

“To [target audience] our product is the [category] that provides [functional, symbolic or emotional benefits] because [support/reasons to believe].”
— Geyrhalter

“When the background story is bigger than the product.”

You can win the hearts of consumers with the unique background story of the company. When you a have a good story, all you need is to “talk the talk, followed by sincerely walking the walk”. As a result, your consumers will be loyal and become your advocates. This is especially relevant for brands that are not based on innovation.

“When values are bigger than the product.”

The consumer market’s desire to buy from (smaller/local) brands they can trust is growing. Consumers today even expect brands to be more and more vocal about politics. Shared values with your consumers in the end has a bigger impact than the standalone product. Meaning you will need to invest in building a deep understanding of these consumers.

“When the cause is bigger than the product.”

Another trend is the need for a cause to work, instead of money alone. Millennials are driven by purpose and social causes instead of merely generating sales. Tapping into this trend in an authentic way, creating an emotional connection with your target audience, is what will strengthen your brand’s positioning.

“When a sense of location is bigger than the product.”

Another successful brand trait is creating a brand story based on heritage, when done right of course. Enabling your consumers to connect your product with the desire to establish a deeper connection with the heritage of the product. Geyrhalter calls this a “brand aura”. It is important to consider the risks of the location in mind and you actually “buy/support local” instead of manufacturing in for instance China.  

“When the small delight is bigger than the product.”

To set yourself apart from your competitor’s, thoughtful delights can be detrimental in your brand’s positioning. By embodying this in your customer service, you will build relationships that eventually can form a community. The tip by Geryhalter that I especially like is “Don’t think only of them; think for them”, implying that you should for instance simplify complex tasks for them.

“When the trust is bigger than the product.”

Consumers trust those brands that are transparent and will choose you over the competitors. Once you go transparent, you never back. This is a prerequisite for those contemplating to take this route. Also, make sure that what you intend to make transparent of course will actually repay itself. Maybe, just maybe, you have something that you should keep hidden hihi.

“When solidarity is bigger than the product.”

Be a nice leader, staying true to your target audience in everything you do. While you limit your initial audience size, you will be able to connect with the audience on your beliefs and needs.

“When customization is bigger than the product.”

Personalization, customization, and limited numbers equal magic. We have covered it numerous times before on the blog. Limited edition makes them boys and girls go loco. Initials on bags makes for cravings. We all want the “same same but different”, as I mentioned in the book review of Invisible Influence.


What makes the book work is that it is a nice and short read filled with a good mix of big ideas and practical examples. Every chapter starts off with the big ideas, includes case studies, and concludes with the ‘commandments’. The latter are tips on strategies and tactics in order to implement the traits. As a result, you are quickly able to start applying the ideas in your own projects.

“It’s not what we do but how we do it.”
— Geyrhalter

Are you going to pick up a copy of Bigger Than This? And are you ready to embrace and incorporate these 8 brand traits in your projects? How do you plan to do so? Share it with us!

Note: I received a copy of Bigger Than This via Netgalley.

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