Regardless if you're a top-level executive or a rookie marketer, everyone needs motivation. And for many, the source comes from the creative vigor of other companies and organizations. In an effort to find out what companies young professionals are looking up to, iMedia asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question: As an entrepreneur, what brand inspires you and why?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
"Tesla and SpaceX have at the core of their brand the ability to inspire huge accomplishments in human civilization. It's because they're not just designing a more efficient computer or better packaging for a running shoe or a soda product, but something that will fundamentally change human history. Any brand that inspires that kind of awe and wonder -- a brand that focuses its energy on changing the world rather than profiting from it -- is a brand that inspires me."
"LUSH is an inspiring brand because they bridged the gap between revenue and ethics. I love that LUSH makes a conscious effort to make the world a better place through eco-friendly packaging, charitable donations, cruelty-free products, and ethically sourced resources. On top of all that, LUSH is still very chic, profitable, and expanding in popularity and scale."
"The anti-tobacco organization, truth. This is the only organization that I know of that has made a brand out of not doing something and created a product that you can't buy. They are doing something unique to reach consumers and influence decisions, and are challenging the status quo in marketing. They operate with honesty to solve a social issue, and I find that really inspiring."
"I am inspired by Zappos because they are truly customer service oriented. They identify what would be best for the customer and then figure out what they need to do to achieve it. Anytime we discuss new ideas, I always ask myself, 'Would Zappos do that?'"
"From the product to the brand image, I love it all. They've done a great job making some of the best motorcycles in the world with the industry's best design. More importantly, they've done a very good job building a sense of community around the motorcycles -- one that many aspire to be a part of."
"Infusionsoft provides small businesses with tools they wouldn't otherwise have access to. Most software companies are focused on building tools for big brands, but our country isn't built on a few large brands. It's built on entrepreneurs -- people who take a risk, leave their six-figure jobs to solve a big problem, eat ramen noodles, and work 12-hour days with no vacation for years because they see something great and want to make it reality."
"A conglomerate that's well-respected among all founders and CEOs, Virgin is also a brand that is known in every household. Richard Branson has done an incredible job of building businesses that people love, and I aspire to do the same. Building an ever expanding group of companies while maintaining your brand's integrity is no easy feat, but that's something we hope to do too."
"I love the way sales is such a strong mantra throughout the company, with everyone focused on it. In my own business, I try to get everyone to see the role they can play in the sales cycle."
"There are many brands operating in a very honest way, but I'm a fan of the clothing brand Everlane in particular. What they're doing in terms of transparency (with their operations, pricing, production, and just about everything else) is very smart. How they're building out their catalog and producing runs of products, only as their sales and profits warrant, is also a very smart and future-facing move."
"I really admire Basecamp, and Jason Fried's model of staying strategically small. He's built his entire business around creating amazing work/life balance for his employees and creating products that help others run their companies. It's great to see a business putting employees and customers before profits."
"I'm a person who loves to wear glasses but hates to pay tons of money for them. In 2011, I was introduced to Warby Parker, and my world was changed. While I love the 10 pairs of glasses I've bought from them, what I love the most is their customer service. They answer every question posed to them on Twitter, and they took it to another level and sent me a book as well as made me a personalized video! A big brand with a bigger heart."
"Jimmy Buffett is more than a musician; he is a bona fide multimillion-dollar brand. From Margaritaville restaurants to New York Times best-selling books to clothing lines, the quality and loyalty to his projects is evident in his ever-developing business portfolio. Expanding his business portfolio year after year, product after product, while staying true to his passion is every entrepreneur's dream!"
"DivvyHQ inspires me to take what I have learned throughout my career experience in order to find a solution to problems that people and businesses everywhere face. DivvyHQ's founders used their experience at ad agencies and creative groups to solve the content marketing and organizational issues many of us face in the workforce. Fixing a problem that helps an entire market is truly inspirational."
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