While sitting in the office of our branding agency in Irvine, California, I started thinking about what it takes to build a successful company. Immediately, my mind went to a big topic—one of the biggest of topics, if we’re talking about trees: the giant sequoia.
The sprouting of a little sequoia seed is a simple and marvelous thing. These little seeds—flakes, really—smaller than a sesame seed, come packed in the sequoia’s pine cone—which is itself a baby next to the cones of its neighbors. Each of these cones contains hundreds of seeds. The potential for life of each small cone, much less each massive tree that spawns them, is sublime. The human minds can’t really grasp it.
In exactly the same way, human minds, with all our entrepreneurial vigor, are built like sequoias, or maybe sequoia cones. Each of our endeavors is crammed full of potential: potential success and potential failure—good ideas and bad ideas. When such a cone is awakened, shedding its flakey seeds to the wind, anything could happen, and usually does. Just as most seeds don’t grow into a giant sequoia, most of these ideas don’t grow into something grand.
Back to my question: what exactly are the conditions, the necessities to take one of those countless little flakes of an idea and turn it into a successful business?
Get rid of the litter
It’s been well documented that sequoias need fire to reproduce. This was discovered as recently as the 60s, after scientists racked their brains to figure out why new sequoias weren’t growing, when other tree species were thriving. Counterintuitively, fire was needed to make the forest thrive.
Some trees are well adapted to get their seeds through the collection of forest litter to the fertile soil below—but not sequoias. They need a clean, unobstructed opening for their tiny seeds to hit the right spot and awaken. Only regular low-intensity burns can clear all the foliage on the forest floor, giving these ginger little seeds the start they need. In order to go from seed to seedling, the unimportant, dead, decaying stuff has to be gotten rid of. This has become so ingrained in the trees that the cones will only open if fire awakens them, at the perfect time, when the forest floor will be cleared of plant stuff.
The same logic is true for a new business or brand. New ideas, new brands, are small, highly mobile, and in need of an appropriate environment if they’re to get to the next step. If you’re in the process of a rebrand, think of it as your little seed being in mid-air. In order for that idea to dig in and start growing, it can’t be hindered by other stuff. If your business has been around but you’re rebranding, this may mean you’re holding on to certain aspects of the business out of habit—certain things which can get in the way of your new brand taking hold and sprouting.
You may also be hindered from the cast off ideas of others. Take a restaurant as an example. When you want to start your own place from the ground up, it can be extremely challenging to avoid the popular ideas of the other successful restaurants in the neighborhood. In search of a great brand, you have to be prepared to push aside anything that’s going to impair that brand’s growth, from the environment around you, or from your own history.
The Sequoia teaches us to do it by fire, if necessary.
Contact us today you after a Branding Agency in Irvine, to light that fire.