The secret formula used by the world’s most successful brands

(How to use inspiration from your favorite brands to tell more engaging small business story)

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All great ideas start with outside influence.

After 15 years working alongside some of the best creative minds on the world’s leading brands, there is one clear takeaway - almost every major campaign, piece of content, and interactive experience is built on inspiration from another brand.

The key insight: it doesn’t stop at inspiration. Making the idea work for another brand requires curiosity and thoughtful reflection. What made that inspiring piece of marketing successful, why did their audience connect with the idea, and why do I find it inspiring?

I call this strategic deconstructing. Here’s the three-step process (or secret formula):

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  1. Discover: Analyze exactly what it is about the inspiring idea that made it inspiring. Is it the way they told the story, how it was communicated, the format or delivery channel they used to share it.

  2. Define: Outline what you connect with most about your discovery takeaways.

  3. Develop: Clearly outline why that approach could be successfully applied to your own content or marketing.

Lofti Case Study: Strategic deconstructing of Apartment Therapy content

I recently followed my own advice as I was re-thinking new ways to build content for my small business.As an avid reader of Apartment Therapy, I let myself get curious. Just exactly what is it about those home before and after design articles that pull me in for hours on a Sunday afternoon? Here’s what I found:

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Why do I love the content? What inspires me to gather inspiration for my brand?

  • There is something fascinating about seeing a before and after in photos.

  • I love details, especially those small vignette shots.

  • I am inspired by the decorating, approach to design, and profile of the person.

Lofti Branding Marketing for Small Business Owners


What do I connect with most and could apply to my content?

I love the ‘human’ story that comes through the home being profiled. I like learning about the person and I am inspired by their journey from the before to the after.

Lofti Branding 101 for Small Business Owners


How do I actually apply this for Lofti?

The visual storytelling about the person’s journey is what I really love. I am about to launch my first YouTube series featuring female business owners. My social media or blog content to promote the videos could gather branded images from each interviewee creating a blog post that speaks to their journey. I could repurpose that post and images on LinkedIn to increase awareness and Instagram or Facebook teasing an inspiring takeaway from their entrepreneurship journey.


The secret marketing formula used by the world’s most successful brands?

It comes down to curiosity and strategy. There is no right or wrong way to create your next piece of engaging content or in person experience with your customers. In this increasingly digitally connected world of content, there is no lack of inspiration. Use it to your advantage. The next time you see a competitor's ad, a colleagues’ engaging blog post, or an awesome pop-up event from a brand you love, let yourself get curious. Make this a practice and you will find inspiration in your everyday everywhere, incorporating the same strategy used by the world’s leading creative agencies.