Quotes for Brand Inspiration

Your Brand Vision

Quotes can shape our brand vision and lead to building your brand philosophy and core values.

Starting anything is hard, and starting a business is no different. Fundamentally, you are sailing into uncharted waters, physically,  financially and  emotionally. There are more than a million uncertainties to consider, and in all truth, no one can really be 100% sure that their  ideas will work out. But, remembering the wise words of Margaret Drabble, we know that “When nothing is sure, everything is possible!”

Getting Started with Inspiration

So let’s get you revved up to start this thing! Here are some morsels of wisdom to inspire, encourage and motivate you to dive in — with no regrets. 

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney, Co-founder, Disney Brother Studio & Disneyland

“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”  – Nolan Bushnell, Co-founder,  Atari Inc. & Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza 

“Don’t over-analyze everything. I myself have been guilty of over-thinking problems. Just build things and find out if they work.” – Ben Silbermann, Co-founder & CEO, Pinterest

“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J. Walker, African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, political and social activist; first female self-made millionaire in America 

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”  – Mary Kay Ash, Founder,  Mary Kay Cosmetics 

“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” – Josh James, CEO & Co-founder, Omniture 

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  – Steve Jobs, Co-founder and former CEO,  Apple Inc.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”  – Mark Twain, American Humorist and Author

“An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.” — David Karp, Founder & CEO, Tumblr

 “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” – Dave Thomas, Founder & former CEO, Wendy’s

“Don’t stress about not having it all figured out. Social media can make us think that we’re the only one not “trending up and to the right.” Focus intently on where you are at now and use this as leverage while everyone else is focused on projecting where they want to be rather than where they actually are.” – Angela Benton,  Founder, NewME

Building Your Brand 

Okay! Now that you are psyched to start, you might be wondering: “So, how do I go about building my unique brand?” “What is branding, brand identity and all these finicky marketing terms?”  Allow the following bites to explain it by showing the two sides of this process. Some of the quotes will showcase the benefits of  a proactive stance to sculpting your story. The others will address the drawbacks of taking on a more passive position on this issue. Because of this, you might find that a few invoke less of a positive emotional response. Nevertheless, we want to learn how to best cultivate our brand, so let’s open our minds to their learning points. 

“Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization. Branding is about shaping that perception.” — Ashley Friedlein, Marketing Expert, CEO & Founder,  Guild

A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.”  — Lisa Gansky, Co-founder and CEO , Global Network Navigator & Ofoto

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin, Founder of Akimbo & the altMBA

“Brands should think of themselves not as storytellers but storybuilders. We plant seeds of content and let our community build on it.” – Amy Pascal, Founder of  Pascal Pictures, former  Co-Chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment

 “If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you.”  – David Brier, Branding Expert &  Author of “Brand Intervention”

“Your brand is a gateway to your true work. You know you are here to do something – to create something or help others in some way. The question is, how can you set up your life and work so that you can do it? The answer lies in your brand. When you create a compelling brand you attract people who want the promise of your brand – which you deliver.” – Dave Buck, CEO, CoachVille.

“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability.” – Simon Mainwaring, CEO, We First Inc.

“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” –  Sir Richard Branson,  Founder, Virgin Group

“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey, or cigarettes or beer. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines… The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.” – David Ogilvy, Advertising Executive,  Founder of Ogilvy & Mather

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” — Howard Schultz, American businessman & former CEO of Starbucks

Developing Your Brand Philosophy

Defining your company’s direction is just as important for your business’ prolonged growth, as people knowing your unique story. Your values determine your priorities, and knowing them helps you stay focused on your company’s goals by detailing the steps towards  achieving them. Here’s an exercise to help to find where you stand.

From the  list below, identify the top 15 quotes which  most resonate with you and/or the character you imagine your brand embodying. 

After making your selection, summarize the key message of each quote in an actionable phrase, not longer than 10 words.  Here’s  an example: 

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” — Henry David Thoreau

Be a person of honor.

“Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” — Winston Churchill

Strive for what is honorable and good.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney

Take action! 

Next, see if any of your summaries relatively intersect then combine their sentiments into one phrase . For instance, if you have “get things done”, “don’t procrastinate” and “ don’t waste the customer’s  time”, you might group this as “provide quick service delivery”.

Rank your summaries from the least negotiable to the most flexible.  

Note down the top 5 choices and these form your top-priority values. 

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins,  New York Times Best-selling Author & Business Strategist

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates, Renowned Philosopher

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group 

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” – Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company 

“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” – Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company 

“Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO,  Zappos

“Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page, Co-founder, Google

“Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.” – Sara Blakely, Founder, SPANX

“It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.” – Warren Buffett, Chairman & Largest Shareholder,  Berkshire Hathaway

“It’s very easy to be different but very difficult to be better.” – Sir Jonathan Ive, former Chief Design Officer, Apple Inc.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau, American Philosopher, Poet, and Environmental Scientist

“I don’t know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.” – Susan Butcher, Pioneer Dog-Sled Racer

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs,  Co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc.

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone, Co-founder, Twitter 

“The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.” – Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father, Polymath & Statesman

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin, French-Cuban-American Writer 

“Instead of freaking out about these constraints, embrace them. Let them guide you. Constraints drive innovation and force focus. Instead of trying to remove them, use them to your advantage.” – 37 Signals

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with dust and sweat; who strives valiantly, who errs and may fall again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming.” — Theodore Roosevelt Jr., American Statesman & 26th President of the United States

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” –Thomas Edison, Renowned Inventor

“I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.” — Jake Nickell, Founder  & CEO, Threadless

“Because, you know, resilience – if you think of it in terms of the Gold Rush, then you’d be pretty depressed right now because the last nugget of gold would be gone. But the good thing is, with innovation, there isn’t a last nugget. Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Amazon Inc.

“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” – Oprah Winfrey, Chairperson & CEO, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network 

 “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.” – Marian Wright Edelman, Founder & President Emerita,  Children’s Defense Fund

“Today it’s important to be present, be relevant and add value.” – Nick Besbeas, former  Vice-President of Marketing & Customer Support, LinkedIn

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist & Best-selling Author

“When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say ‘wow, that was an adventure,’ not ‘wow, I sure felt safe.’” – Tom Preston-Werner, Co-founder, Github

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis, British Writer

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown,  Renowned American Motivational Speaker

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” – Albert Einstein, Renowned Theoretical Physicist

“If you’re not failing now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative.” – Woody Allen, American  Writer-Director-Actor 

“If you want to reach a goal, you must “see the reaching” in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.” – Zig Ziglar, American Motivational Speaker,  Author & Salesman

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar, American Motivational Speaker,  Author & Salesman

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.” – Robert Fritz, Founder,  DMA & Technologies for Creating

“Culture is about performance and making people feel good about how they contribute to the whole.’ – Tracy Streckenbach, Operating Partner, Gridiron Capital LLC

“Starbucks was founded around the experience and the environment of their stores. Starbucks was about a space with comfortable chairs, lots of power outlets, tables and desks at which we could work and the option to spend as much time in their stores as we wanted without any pressure to buy. The coffee was incidental.”  – Simon Sinek, Author, Motivational Speaker & Marketing Consultant

“Creativity may well be the last legal unfair competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition.” – Dave Trott, Creative Director, Consultant & Author

“Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.” – Doris Kearns Goodwin, American Presidential Historian, Public Speaker &  Political Commentator

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German Polymath & Statesman

“You want to set goals that you can hit, so when you start hitting them, you can celebrate those wins. People start trusting in your way of projecting the business.”  –Wiley Cerilli, Founder and former CEO,  SinglePlatform

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy, former Chairperson & CEO, Xerox Corporation

“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.” – Brian Kristofek, President & CEO, Upshot Inc.

“When you’re in a small boat, you can see who’s paddling hard and who’s looking around.” – Ev Williams, Co-founder of Medium, Co-founder of Twitter

 “A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Lack of candor, if unchecked, ultimately leads to dysfunctional environments.”  – Ed Catmull, Co-founder & President,  Pixar Animation Studios

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs, Co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, Founder & CEO, Microsoft Corporation 

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal—a commitment to excellence—that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” –  Mario Andretti, American Race Car Driver

“Play by the rules, but be ferocious.” – Phil Knight, Co-founder & Chairman Emeritus, Nike Inc.

 “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi, Executive, Head Coach & NFL Player

“Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” –Howard Schultz, American businessman & former CEO of Starbucks

“I think as a company, if you can get those two things right — having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff — then you can do pretty well.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Co-founder & CEO, Facebook & Meta Platforms Inc.

“Find something that you love to do, and find a place that you really like to do it in. I found something I loved to do. I’m a mechanical engineer by training, and I loved it. I still do. My son is a nuclear engineer at MIT, a junior, and I get the same vibe from him. Your work has to be compelling. You spend a lot of time doing it.” – Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox

 “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong.” – Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, Co-founder, Infosys

“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.” – Frank Howard Clark, American  Screenwriter

“Incredible things in the business world are never made by a single person, but by a team.” – Steve Jobs, Co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc.

“Do what you love and success will follow. Passion is the fuel behind a successful career.” – Meg Whitman, CEO,  Quibi

“Avoiding mistakes costs more than making them.” — Omer Shai, CMO, Wix.com

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” — Andy Rooney, Journalist

“I admire people who are very successful. But if that success has been achieved through too much ruthlessness, then I may admire that person, but I can’t respect him.”  – Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay, Author

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Hérbert, Educator

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” – Sigmund Freud, Neurologist &  Founder of Psychoanalysis

“Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coexist. And I think it’s a really good thing to remember.” – Virginia Marie “Ginni” Rometty, former President & CEO, IBM

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth, Baseball Player

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence—it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” Peter Drucker, Management Consultant  & Author

“Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” –Nelson Mandela, former South African President & Activist

“I like the impossible. There, the competition is smaller.” – Walt Disney, Co-founder, Disney Brother Studio & Disneyland

“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” – G.K. Chesterton, English Writer

“The only way around is through.” – Robert Frost, American Poet

“Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” – Anthony Volodkin, Founder, Hype Machine

“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.” — Debbi Fields, Founder,  Mrs. Fields Cookies

“Don’t let others convince you that the idea is good when your gut tells you it’s bad.” – Kevin Rose, Founder , Digg & Revision3

“If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.” – Brian Chesky, Co-founder & CEO Airbnb

“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.” –Herbert Swope, American Journalist & Editor 

“To be passive is to let others decide for you. To be aggressive is to decide for others. To be assertive is to decide for yourself. And to trust that there is enough, that you are enough.” – Edith Eva Eger,  Psychologist & Best-selling Author

“One of the greatest skills of leadership is being unflappable. Anytime you do anything in the world; there’s going to be criticism.” – Arianna Huffington, Co-founder & Editor-In-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group

“Selling is not a pushy, winner-takes-all, macho act. It is an empathy-led, process-driven, and knowledge-intensive discipline. Because, in the end, people buy from people.” – Subroto Bagchi, Co-founder, Mindtree

 “Do not focus on numbers. Focus on doing what you do best. It’s about building a community who want to visit your site every day because you create value and offer expertise.” – Cassey Ho, Founder, Blogilates.com

“Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to ask. I have been in the news many times just by calling on the news channel and asking them about featuring my business.” – Lori Cheek, Founder, Cheekd

“There is something artificial when everyone is agreeing with each other. It’s useful to indulge people who don’t agree, and see their viewpoint or force yourself to explain things better.” – David Sack, Founder, Yammer

A huge thank you to our Marketing Analyst Michelle Myambo for researching and drafting this article (AKA the heavy lifting.)

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Jane Clark, Chief Creative Officer of BrandSwan

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