Contentions: Predictions drive great brands

A great brand is driven by a prediction. (That’s not the only starting point; a great brand can start as a lighthouse, too.) 

These visions of the future are the fuel for where the business goes. Ideas and people matter more than the product. Eventually, these ideas and people bear resemblance to religion; Apple, Soulcycle, and Nike all have their dedicated followers.

The ideas, people, and prediction drive the brand, which drives business strategy, which drives product strategy, which drives content strategy, creative, and communications strategy. 

The ideas are the highest level of context, because they guide and set the business objectives. Stripe Press breaks it down clearly, “…Businesses are the result of many different inputs. Perhaps the most important ingredient is ‘ideas.’” Similarly, Nike founder Phil Knight has discussed how money is like oxygen or blood for a business; similarly, you need oxygen to live, but your purpose in life isn’t simply to make more oxygen.

This simple switch and reframe is how and where the skill of writing can command a lot more business value.

Instead of solving “just” a content problem as a freelance writer, as you develop your expertise, you can actually operate at the highest level of context when you make predictions or help clarify and articulate your client’s predictions. 

These job titles that bear closer resemblance to this skillset and experience are, “Strategist,” “Speculative designer,” and “Futurist.” (There’s more! Venture capitalist M.G. Siegler used to be a journalist. And don’t forget the “Digital Prophet!”)

Predictions are the clouds, content and communications are the dirt. In a company’s early days, and at pivotal moments, you’ll need to do both.

If you’re a writer looking for an opportunity to work with a company on its brand or creative side, study the entrepreneurs and leaders, and try to grasp the vision. Then research, extend, and elaborate on it, and the openings will reveal themselves.

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