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Want to become an iconic business leader? Start here

While curiosity may have killed the cat, it’s helping to spawn a whole new lane where marketing and business collide.

Once only considered a place for unicorn thinking and maverick maneuverability, welcome to the age of brand and in my opinion, it couldn’t have come soon enough.

Marty Neumeier has a great diagram when talking about the relationship between brand and business. Leaders take note – it includes a DNA strand with two words and arrows, each pointing to a separate strand. The first arrow points to the word business while the other arrow points to the word brand. Connecting the two strands is culture, a shared attribute needed to scale. The DNA strand is a clever way to visualize the relationship between these two core pieces of an organization’s DNA.

In order for this DNA strand to successfully sustain itself and grow, each strand needs to focus on what they do best while sharing and being curious with the other. The business strand needs to focus on the goals of the company and accept responsibility for it’s direction. The brand on the other hand needs to be focused on the customers and their goals. Without each strand we can almost certainly see the organization’s demise.

To achieve success and to carve out a strategy that can help a company to reach heights it didn’t think it could reach, both strands need to have a positive relationship and be connected. They need to be connected through curiosity in asking the right questions and creativity in solving the right problems. Doing so allows the organization to achieve its vision and live it’s purpose. It’s both harmonious and complex at the same time.

Business leaders will understand that growing and maintaining a strong brand will be predicated on strong business fundamentals.

The future titans of business will understand this deep down in their core. These business leaders will understand that growing and maintaining a strong brand will be predicated on strong business fundamentals. They’ll understand this unique relationship with the DNA strand and they’ll work tirelessly to feed it so the organization can grow and thrive. They’ll do it because it’ll be in their DNA next to having laser-focus and an intuition for knowing what sticks.

So what’s the 1 trait all iconic leaders have in common? In 2022 and beyond, it comes down to having an innate curiosity coupled with creativity. The combination and relationship between them is maximizing both the DNA strands we spoke about earlier and pouring gasoline on them.

As we continue to evolve as consumers, and as our wants and needs evolve almost daily, the curious creatives will lead the way with a mixture of philosophy and empathy to deliver the awe-inspiring brands we’ve come to love and revere.

While history has been full of famous duos such as peanut butter & jelly, Snoopy & Woodstock, or even pizza & beer, ultimately, it’s the most famous and impactful duo could be the relationship between curiosity and creativity. That relationship has spawned generations of leaders, iconic brands, and most importantly, the innovation(s) we’ve come to depend on.

To those about to brand…I salute you and hope you approach every project with equal parts curiosity and creativity.

Until next time, friends.


By Steven Picanza

Co-Founder and Chief Strategist Officer at Latin & Code. Head of Branding and International Instructor & Speaker.

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