Guy Kawasaki on Being a Brand Evangelist


May 4, 2015

guy kawasaki

“Branding is blocking and tackling.” Guy Kawasaki would know. As a brand evangelist for some of the biggest brands in history including Apple, Android, and Wikipedia, Guy knows that “bringing the good news” is a lot of work. I couldn’t wait to talk to the quintessential brand evangelist about what it takes to do his job on this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Episode Highlights

Guy’s newest gig. As further proof that Kawasaki is the quintessential evangelist, as he recorded this interview, he had just accepted a new role as a board member for Wikimedia, the parent company of Wikipedia. This gave us the opportunity to kick off the interview with a discussion of the Wikipedia brand.

“Evangelism is of Greek origin. An evangelist brings the good news.” When you take a step back and look at the past 30 years, Guy has made a career out of evangelizing democratization. Apple was about democratizing computing. Canva democratizes design. Wikipedia democratizes information.

So does everything that Guy touches turn to gold? Nope. “I’m not turning anything to gold. I’m not making great things. I create or affiliate with great things. You have to truly believe.”

What would Guy tell a brand looking to hire an evangelist? “Look in your customer base.” Many times there are evangelists in waiting. “Elevate your fans.” How about who not to hire? Guy cautioned against recruiting MBAs with perfect pedigrees.

Guy’s advice for potential evangelists? Consider the 4,235 evangelist jobs posted on Simply Hired! While Guy initially thought that this might be a “foreign concept” to many, an impromptu job search showed us otherwise.

As Apple’s former evangelist, Guy worked with Steve Jobs. What’s Guy’s favorite Steve Jobs story? You’ll have to listen to the episode for that one!

Guy is a firm believer in mantras for businesses and brands. “Two to three words work better than (longer) mission statements.” Guy’s mantra? Two words: “Empower people.” It’s that simple. (He’s even got a word to spare!)

What brand has made Guy smile lately? An evangelist through and through, of course, Guy said Apple. “They make me smile and they make my head explode.” Learn why on the episode. He also loves what Porsche, Mercedes, Virgin America, and Cadbury are doing on social media.

To learn more about Canva, go to canva.com. To learn more about Guy and his work check out guykawasaki.com.

As We Wrap …

Recently Mattias Kindell gave the show a shout about our recent episode featuring social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson. Thanks for listening, Mattias!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!


Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.




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