Just a few weeks ago, I had the true delight and honor to participate in a Brand Building Workshop hosted at Build-A-Bear Bearquarters in St. Louis, MO. Having had minimal exposure to the company as a customer, it was my respect and admiration of its founder, Maxine Clark, that grabbed my interest in attending. Its not every day that you have the opportunity to meet in a small group setting with an internationally known and extremely successful CEO. Even more rare is an agenda that is designed to teach you about how to build a successful brand by sharing the very recipes for success that have made that company what it is today. I was captivated from the moment we started and couldn’t type fast enough as I tried to capture insights both you and I would find intriguing. Here are just a few of the many A-HA moments I had on our first morning:
From Adrienne Weiss on Branding: Define the heart of your company first…it has to be there for your brand to succeed. It will guide everything else you have ahead of you as your craft a successful business. Ask yourself how can you be who you are, inform others about what you stand for, and create the dream you can see in your mind. What do you care about and what do you want others to care about? You’ll be successful when you resonate with people by speaking to them from your heart directly to theirs. Carry that into product and its the heart and soul of the relationship that creates a reason for us to be and for us to become loyal to that product and company.
From Jill Saunders on Community and Giving: Visit www.BuildABear.com and you will find 13 different information links that focus on Community and Giving. A natural extension of the heart of the company, friendship, its in the listening that the greatest opportunities to give are found. Inspired by customer Nikki Giampolo, a child who made bears daily for fellow cancer patients as she fought her own heroic battle with terminal cancer, the company now places greate emphasis on teaching kids about how they can speak from their hearts and help others
From Zach Bonner on how he juggles Childhood and Philanthropy: He has to juggle around the projects, learning in a virtual home school to accommodate his many days out in the community organizing events and working to raise money. He compares it to any other child who might love a sport or an instrument, his passion just happens to be philanthropy and doing all he can to help children in need. His compassion and empathy grew out of a hurricane relief effort in his hometown where as a very young child, he discovered how much he loved being a part of asking for the donation, collecting the items, delivering the items to the distribution center. He asked what will I do when this is all over and that was how his foundation, Little Red Wagon, was born. Zach was honored to be part of Build-A-Bear Workshop’s 2007 Huggable Heroes program.
Now for an insiders look behind the scenes at Build-A-Bear Bearquarters in St. Louis, MO.