The soulful pathway, brand journeying—studying the modeling of the deep space of branding, metaphors, storytelling and innovations in a time of change.
Everything’s changing, as well we all know.
Life speed—living accelerates and complicates, death speed—death and end state: it’s faster.
In life, work, business and busyness, there’s brandspeed.
And in change, there’s a search, a quest that is a questioning—“I’m here, I’m working on this brand, I’m working inside this business and I’m wondering—where am I, what do I stand for? I’m working on this brand, this enterprise; I’m working here—what for?
And the brand should be asking the same question, especially now.
Why am I?
Where am I?
What am I?
Who am I?
W&K | Portland, OR
Contemplating stance, premise and positioning, that brings anyone back to a query about search—it’s about the reaching-in (to people.) To do that leaning-in, it’s listening to them, learning from them, and gathering their impressions and ideas.
Every brand working is about people—those who ignite and fire the foundation of the hearth of the brand and its campfire storytelling. We sit, listen, feel the warmth and we either connect or walk away. To know that, to know anything about brands, the searcher has to go in there—deeper into the brand, to know more of its personality and soulful dimensionality. Search for it—and in that listen to them. And in learning: what does that feel, sound and look like?
To journey more into the search of humanized brands—human brand—all of this searching, deeper journeying, will walk into the construct of what they [members in a known or pitched community] love, what they love doing, and what do they love in offering to others.
L I F E
L O V E
L I V E
L O V E
Love, as a topic, is repetitive and influential for me, my thinking, and GIRVIN’s work.
It seems like every time I do a brand summit, workshop or innovation session,
it always comes back to this central thematic.
What do you love? What does this brand love? Could you love this brand?
Recently, I’ve been talking about (and charting, drawing, mapping) love—human love.
It’s the connection that humans have with each other, and sometimes, their animals. And sometimes, the love that people have on other horizons—like: objects, states of being, places of power and enchantment. Love, of course, is at the heart of anything human.
There is either love, or there is not.
BRAND SEQUENCING AND MODELING
There are a sequence of layers to the relevance of enterprise evolution in the idea of strategic brand management—and when you’re thinking about transitions, rings of relationships, the cumulus of crowds–what is the mapping of the sequencing of relationships? They ripple outwardly.
There is the close-in group – the founding team (usually with a human brand icon in the center) that relates to the enchantment of brand invention; and there are the opening members of the community of adopters and early relationships that link to the engagement of brand innovation; and there are the larger emerging and burgeoning communities that tie to the concepts of growing and extending the expectation of the brand.
And finally, the thrall: enthrallment.
I persistently contemplate that brand sequencing:
enchantment—the believability of opening embrace.
Engagement—which is the believability of opening embrace.
That lends to expectation—what will happen with the brand’s experiencer, consistently.
Enthrallment—the commitment, the enamor of stamina, the runner’s story—get out there far enough and you
can keep going.
Engram—which is the cognitive unit of memory in the trace of the unforgotten.
THE STROKES OF ENTRANCEMENT—HAND-DRAWN BRAND STORIES
People are spellbound by the drawn interpretation of what they say—the drawn stroke of what is voiced, made visible, is inherently magic—it’s the very nature of the spell. As a form of cast magic, as in a sigil, it’s a signal in
the translating of thoughts to ideas.
The idea of looking at drawn modeling, as I am (along with the GIRVIN team) increasingly wont to do—the metaphor of brand strategy and the deeper allegories of the brand soul(fullness) — it’s really about looking for ways to chart the nodes of experience and relationships.
When someone comes in contact with the storytelling of a brand—what happens?
How are they touched–or are they?
Does the brand live in a certain allegorical way—like the osmotic seething of marine organisms: coral—growing colonially? Or is it more to the nature of the architecture of the nest—the bees and the honeycombing of stable relationships? A stone in water—rippling outwards? The echoic reflective messaging? The nodal growth of moss, the tendrils of ferns, the space-filling expansion of the patterning of leaves.
Sometimes, that notion of drawing is metaphorically unto itself. Something is drawn out, in drawing—the idea of drawing, the draught of thinking, is the sketched, brain-stormed mind. What happens in that process of “drawing out the ideas” is that it is dragging, traction, pulling.
The word goes there, according to Douglas Harper’s review:
DRAW. IT. OUT.
c.1200, spelling alteration of Old English dragan “to drag, to draw, protract” (class VI strong verb; past tense drog, pp. dragen), from Proto Germanic *draganan “carry” (cf. Old Norse draga “to draw,” Old Saxon dragan, Old Frisian draga, Middle Dutch draghen, Old High German tragen, German tragen “to carry, bear”), from ProtoIndoEuropean base *dhragh– (see drag). Sense of “make a line or figure” (by “drawing” a pencil across paper) is c.1200. Meaning “pull out a weapon” is c.1200. To draw a criminal (drag him from a horse to place of execution) is from early 14c. To draw a blank “come up with nothing” (1825) is an allusion to a lottery. As a noun, from 1660s. Colloquial sense of “anything that can draw a crowd” is from 1881 (the verb in this sense is 1580s).
B R A N D C A R T O G R A P H Y :
M A P P I N G I D E A S
I savor the idea of pulling—dragging, drawing from the story, chalk or blade, steel or bamboo.
As I walk through the modeling of how brand builds relations—even in the vastness of sociality in media—there are flows, movements and forms that are compelling. And in many ways, these mapping techniques lend themselves to the conceptions of natural fractalization. It’s my principle of approach–the GIRVIN way of thinking about brands, stories, love and humans is that these represent deeper principles of action in the ongoing actualization of the brand—draw out the map.
Passionate commitment can be the pinned star at the top of the cluster—that “shine” can flow out, illuminating many details. Working in companies, examining and auditing processes and exploring the notions of brand soul and culture, the ideas move in a way that flows (in one way or another). If, to the contrary, the brand is dead—a ghost brand, that has no soul—then there’s no point in artful articulation. It will vanquish itself. Who would love the dead?
Staggering content and messaging structure:
life brands—love will be there.
The rings of union / reunion / relationships
and commonality: rippling.
The sequence of doors—the layering of portals
for access: retail and interactive.
Aggregation of content
in floor planning and publishing.
Could a store be a magazine?
retail sequencing and brand symbolism.
The deep blue: messaging and
from the heart—flow.
The gift boxes of message:
one, is another, nested in another, each can be savored—
as a gift, they are unpackaged,
person by person.
Heart and transformation:
delight, pleasure, destination: retail and brand visioning.
Rhythm and evolution—
the spiraling volute: light.
messaging and visual import:
the bricks of content and access.
the tree, the trunk, the roots
and the expansion of
their grasp of content.
love, passion, the intimate:
Sometimes, in the nature of the brand study, there is an issue with the conception of the brand is linked to love.
A love brand, or it might be really about supporting love.
T H R A L L
For example: health, or sensuality; I was talking about love, charting ideas, exploring concepts at a recent client meeting; this was in team workshopping a day, virtually—the notion of being connected, let’s say for now, spiritually. The spirit space is a powerful and compelling way–that way of “in” being “inspired”—being connected to someone in a manner that is psychic, aligned, linked—it’s synchronous, gravitating at the nexus of the examination of ideas. During that presentation—there was that attachment again, the idea of enchantment, engagement, and enthrallment.
Being—in the state of thrall, that idea of being fascinated in the witching sense—enchanted and enlivened in the passion — that could be, too: surrender — it’s the reflexive of giving, and giving back. So close, that the giving and the give back — they are the same, they are in.
I look at these two words, questioning:
intimate: from the Latin intimus “inmost” (adj.), “close friend” (n.), superl. of in “in.”
surrender: “to give (something) up,” from the Old French surrendre “give up, deliver over” (13c.), from sur– “over” + rendre “give back” (explore, for reference: render).
Love, intimate—love in, be in love, be enthralled—in that state of thrall, enchantment and trance, drawn to the fire. Drawn, that’s the heart—but in drawing, it’s the idea of finding the heart of the way in which a story might be told, a modeling for an organization might be considered, or bigger still, the idea of the mapping or the “lustration” of the archetype or symbolism of what’s being accomplished. What is the work, and what lies beneath?
In thinking about relationships—whether human, brand, human brand or the empire of the senses—the relating is too, the carrying back.
Surrender to love—be in(timate).
Just thinking about it, for a moment. Life and brand—a recommendation could be intertwinement.