What Is a Big Little Legend?

Have you ever considered that you or your organization could become legendary? Don’t think it’s possible? Irresistible Story-Teller and Brand Builder Gair Maxwell knows what it takes to become a legend and is sharing insight into how it can be achieved…


How do you define a “legend”?

What qualifies someone or something to be described as “legendary”?

Are there specific qualities or attributes necessary that articulate how some person, place, event or object takes on a larger-than-life stature?

The word “legend” is one of those fuzzy, intangible words in the English language that defies tangible description. It’s as though each one of us has our own interpretation or innate understanding of what that word really means and who or what we classify and designate as being worthy of “legendary” status.

The Oxford Dictionary took a stab at defining the word this way:

LEG· END – Remarkable enough to be famous or very well-known; admired by other people. Stories from ancient times about people and events, that may or may not be true.

But, for mere mortals, the height of accomplishments by legends in business or any chosen field may seem utterly unattainable. From beyond the earthly definition of what’s truly impossible to the stratosphere of completely unthinkable. So far beyond our scope and grasp that it is light years beyond anything our imagination can even consider or conceive.

Which is why you might be curious about the impact, legacy and lessons from BIG LITTLE LEGENDS.

BIG LITTLE LEGENDS are like all of the aforementioned luminaries but operate on slightly smaller scales. In other words, their accomplishments are still well within the range of what’s possible. With achievements that are much easier to imagine for any dreamer with aspirations of starting something special from anywhere.

By definition, BIG LITTLE LEGENDS are companies, people and communities that:

1.     Own a substantial or larger share of the market in their specific competitive space.

2.    Display the qualities of enduring longevity.

3.    Make a positive, emotional difference to their communities.

4.    Enjoy a much-admired public reputation with a brand story that gets told and re-told by people who are happy to do so. Like Webers, for example, on Highway 11 just north of Orillia, Ontario. Or Cafe du Monde, located in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA. Or Jim Gilbert’s, Canada’s Huggable Car Dealer on the north side, in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In all three cases, you will see enduring,growing companies who took a page from Sinatra and did it their way.

BIG LITTLE LEGENDS are the ones who have been around a long time, constructively impact the social-cultural order, are well-known beyond their local area codes and are both popular and highly prosperous. These are the real-life underdogs who punch way above their weight class, create substantial economic or social impact and do more than just reflect our current culture; they establish and reveal it while pointing us in new directions.

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BIG LITTLE LEGENDS are the ones who started from nothing. They didn’t even have a spoon to begin with, let alone one made of gold or silver. From humble beginnings, they have also remained relatively small and true to their roots. In many cases, they have stayed privately or community owned, always guided by unshakeable vision and values. But along the way, these heavyweight contenders racked up the kind of financial results, staying power, social and cultural impact and top-of-mind brand awareness that separated them from the many other pretenders in their respective categories.

BIG LITTLE LEGENDS were not always the biggest, the best or the first. They never played the game just to make money or become famous for the sake of a bigger bank account or celebrity status. Instead, they are the ones who broke down barriers, blazed trails, ignited the torch of the human spirit and didn’t just grow their enterprise through pulling typical corporate levers such as a new clever way to sell average, homogenized products at scale to a mass audience through traditional mass marketing. They didn’t rely on Big Data, IPO’s or become the biggest kid on the playground through merger and acquisition. Every one of these legends experienced growth, sustainability, public recognition and made a cultural footprint in a different, organic way.

They have all re-defined the usual measures of success with the unwavering support of legions of customers and flesh-and-blood fans, genuinely touched by the stories of these enterprises and the very real human values their brands have come to represent. Every new business owner or newly-minted community leader has the opportunity to reorder their world in some way. BIG LITTLE LEGENDS offers anyone the opportunity to achieve success on their own terms without selling their soul for the sake of commerce or fame.

To be sure, the discipline of branding has seen giants like Apple, Coca-Cola, Disney, NIKE and Harley-Davidson achieve unparalleled top-of-mind recognition while adding considerable equity to the corporate balance sheet. This astronomical level of brand success has often been associated with massive financial investments in marketing and advertising, backed by plenty of corporate muscle, expensive expert resources and more than enough minions and hands-on-deck to handle the minutiae and many moving parts. But there are millions of small-to-medium sized companies and community leaders who lack those resources and find it difficult to find appropriate role models that can reveal what is truly possible.

That’s why BIG LITTLE LEGENDS can serve a higher purpose than most other traditional business books that worship at the altar of metrics, systems, profit margins and ROI without ever making the connection between that which is both commercial and soulful. My forthcoming book and the stories and insights within, will reveal what our brands could become, in a way that reflects our own individual values and preferences.

For some people, the word “legend” equates to an artifact that collects dust in a museum or a statue placed on a pedestal after someone has retired or their body laid into the ground. For modern-legacy builders, the past can be a great source of motivation and inspiration, but it’s not where you allow yourself to rest on the laurels of bygone glories. On the contrary, BIG LITTLE LEGENDS demonstrate that you can use the lessons of history to rewrite the future on a daily basis in our rapidly-changing world without needing to be a huge company with a colossal marketing budget to make a huge impact with your brand.

Just to recap, BIG LITTLE LEGENDS share four key characteristics:

#1. A solid track record of longevity.

#2. A visible, positive emotional impact on society.

#3. Higher levels of public acclaim and notoriety.

#4. Higher levels of profitability. 

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From a business perspective, becoming an alluring, and over time, legendary brand, can become a dominant force in any market. Customers are willingly drawn to an invisible, yet tangible energy that becomes too attractive, too tempting to be resisted. The long-term impact in our short-term world can be significant. Legendary brands never have to resort to “pushy” sales tactics, cheesy marketing gimmicks or follow “cookie-cutter” formulas stuck inside the lines of traditional, boiler-plate advertising.

Legends never have to beg for business to come their way. Legends reveal new possibilities to replicate success like Frankie from Hoboken and achieve success your way.

Think of BIG LITTLE LEGENDS as a philosophical and practical guide to build an irresistible brand that magnetically attracts people who yearn for something more meaningful, than just another product, service or a logo; an eternal spirit that connects us all.

Such is the power of legends.

“You only go around once, but if you play your cards right, once is enough”           FRANK SINATRA


Described as a shock stick of energy, Gair Maxwell has inspired thousands of individuals to dream bigger, build their brand, and turn wishful thinking into concrete results. 


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