Episode 16 - The Essential Stages of Growing a Successful Brand




Today we are going through all the essential stages of creating a successful brand in a really interesting discussion with Kiri Masters and Brian Smith, the founder of UGG. Although Brian sold UGG a little while ago, he has some really amazing stories to share about growing the company into an internationally recognized brand, what he went through along the way and how he dealt with retailers or copycats.

Brian is also the author of the book “The Birth of a Brand” and he was kind enough to share with us several insights that he included in his book. Tune in and learn more about Brian’s experience with growing UGG.

Though Brian spent several years studying accounting, he wasn’t very passionate about this field and decided to explore his entrepreneurial side by going to California to find something innovative and bring it back home, to Australia.

After following his dream of surfing in Malibu for a couple of months, one day, while sitting on the beach, Brian realized that the water started getting cold and chilly winds began to blow. Pulling on the sheepskin boots he'd brought with him from Australia, Brian had a breakthrough. He realized there were no UGG boots in America!

Though everyone knows the popular UGG brand now, it took quite a long time for Brian to tap into the consumer mind and understand how to sell the products he produced. In this interview Brian explains what he did to grow his company into the iconic brand that it has become today. We hope you enjoy his insightful journey.  

It’s really important that you never advertise your actual product- you always advertise the benefits, or the feeling, or the emotional side of the benefit of your product.
— Brian Smith


  • Brain tells the story of how his brand was born.

  • The first year's sales were only twenty-eight pairs of boots.

  • How he managed to break into the consciousness of the public.

  • Brian noticed a theme years later while writing a book when the brand had grown into the millions.

  • The theme of Brian's book was that you can't give birth to adults.

  • Brian explains his analogy of giving birth to adults.

  • Every business goes through a stage of infancy before the orders start coming in. This is also the stage where most entrepreneurs give up.

  • If you start out with a really unique product or service, the business is bound to pass through the infancy stage and move into the teenage years.

  • The potential danger of getting into national distribution too quickly.

  • Brian's book, “The Birth of a Brand”, highlights all the stages that a business goes through.

  • The UGG brand has gone on to gross a billion dollar per year for the last six years in a row.

  • The different stages and turning points that Brian experienced as his brand become more and more popular.

  • Brian broke through when he started taking pictures of pros surfing at iconic surf locations to create really powerful images for his ads.

  • Advertising and marketing became a passion for Brian.

  • The importance of advertising the emotional side of the benefits of your product.

  • Brian's reaction to the copycats who started coming in.

  • When Brian sold the company it wasn't about the product, it was all about the brand.

  • Brian taught his staff not to obsess about their competitors, but rather to "get out first and run faster".

  • The strategy of going for the lowest price is not always the best way to go.

  • Staying ahead of the competitors.

  • There is a value implication to being more expensive.

  • How the UGG brand got into the back door of retail through the surf market.

  • The methodology of marketing has really changed with the internet age, so you have to think and react much faster.

  • A product that Brian sees as the new UGG brand is the Sash Bag.

  • The power of utilizing an existing market to sell products.

  • The importance of building personal connections.

  • On the 30th of October, Brian has a big ad coming out in Ink Magazine to launch the audio version of his book.

  • Brian's book is still as relevant as when it was first published.

  • Go to Amazon on October the 30th and look for “The Birth of a Brand” - it's a roadmap for every entrepreneur.


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