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The Design Associates

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GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

The Design Associates | Tokyo

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

In our experience, brands are—and should be—on a perpetual move, never quiet, always exploring, evolving, tuning and turning to new relationships and communities. And most brands do—with forward thinking leadership, they’re thinking—“we’re missing something here, we don’t have our story right, our imagery is old and outdated, we’re not speaking with the community that we need to be communicating with.

This line of exploration and brand [r]evolution speaks to innovation—which, inherently in its etymology, shall voice the new. Studying the history of the word innovate, which begins about 2000 years ago, its latest reformation is from the mid 16th century: thence from Latin innovat– ‘renewed, altered’, from the verb innovare, from in- ‘into’ + novare ‘make new’ (from novus ‘new’).

New, of course, is the obvious answer, but there is, too—“altered,” which speaks to a slightly different intonation—altering implies a kind of adjustment. As in a tuning, refinement and modification—and each of these has their own storytelling of meaning.

The movement forward settles on a pathway that goes somewhere—perhaps, in your beginning contemplation—you, your brand—you’re thinking, “where does that go?” That could be—“let’s explore and find out—where, what, and how our story is told–what it means for us, what we’re thinking about as the stance and positioning of our brand, our enterprise—is there a deeper calling, something that lies in the heart of why we are here, what we are doing—what we are making?”

While some might decry “soul” as a fabrication [how can a mechanism of commerce have a soul? is the cry of disbelief]—soul, also an ancient word tells of “journey and the sea,” since soul—in its earlier forms—is “sea.”

And every brand that lasts, is about the evolutions in telling in its journey.
Once a pharmaceutical company, now a beauty group?
Once computers, then “phones.”
Once water, now nutrition?
Once paper, now health?

The spirit of a brand can transit if it begins to look towards the needs of its customers, the sway of planetary needs and globalized trends, and
the very heart of the why of its being.

WHY
are we here?

WHAT
are we doing?

WHO
are we listening to?

HOW
do we stand for something—is there a greater purpose?

Of course, you’ll make what you are, truth be told to the stronger pathway—everyone’s looking for the authentikos—the true soul of a thing: authentes.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

Paths can be pursued straight, or labyrinthine—a way the water goes, frozen or fluid; it can be a wander.

There is a path—brand’s like a story, which is—who, the protagonist? When does the story begin? What is the arc of the plot? And what antagonist? How many subplots, which goes like this:

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

“I, Cleo, had a dream—I made a discovery of just the right method
to garden the soil, prepare a plant, and well-water wisdom ways—a poetry of living; but when I was there, I learned more from the older ones—about how to mince leaves, distill, infuse and dry to pestle—this then was copied by others, and my idea was blown to the wind. I moved ahead—another path, made on the first: I packaged my goods, I walked the stores, sharing—and I made more; and more friends, more stores.

And I made tea, incensed fragrances, oils and powders—then bars, cereals. Others copied, but I kept to my path, my storytelling, and offered the narrative to others.
And now, my children carry on the mission—our Mountain Farms, and our vision and message spreads.
Like my garden, flourishing.”

Everything comes down to that stride forward: dream and ideate, invent, create and make, enumerate, produce and multiply—to the degree of your visioning.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

Which, daily, takes
a new turn. Brand invention, transition, evolutions and refreshment
are a constant state of impermanence:
everything changes, constantly.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

Story is history;
it is where the brand was:
what it was made from,
who made it and why.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

And this is the telling to what the brand is,
and who that was, is, could be and shall become—
in the narrative augury of the futurist.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

There is a brand song—any song is a chant;
and enchantment is
intermingled in the siren’s notes.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

Is your brand a theory—a postulate?
Or something held—as a realized object—
as an actualized product?
Which would then be engaged by enticed, enchanted relationships?
Then embraced—”this is the brand story, this is my story.”

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

That voice
comes back to what
lies within
and beneath.
That voice is the calling.
It is the calling-out.
And the calling-in—the shout, the whisper.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

As in any journey,
the map-maker is the journalist;
every step of a map is an hour, the jour of the moment.
The journey and the journal intertwines—as the plait-work of a pathway.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

There is a loom of experience—which is the earth and the heavens, the forward and the back,
west and east, the up skyward, the downward gaze to the center of the earth and the south.
And the north, in any brand compass-pointing is the finding of the way, forward—and the story of that voyage.

The loom gathers the threading, the warp and the weft
and shuttles the holism of the fabric.

Which is, of course,
the fabrication.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

When some hear the word mysticism, they contemplate the visage of a mystic, clouded in obscuration. The explorer of the shadowed and veiled world — but perhaps, in fact, it is always through the mist, the fog of being, the wanderer in the trackless land, that we see more clearly beyond, in what is deeper—the more memorable story, well-told.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

Because we’ve been there—each of us has been in a shadowed place, that is then made light—a fog-shrouded place that slowly emerges to a clarifying glimpse—you can now see forever. And that process, from darkness to light is, in a manner of metaphor, the mystical pathway, since it’s an initiation in seeing—being enwrapped, then opened. And every process of brand development is about capturing that point of epiphanic initiation—a client, customer—they didn’t know, and now they are initiated, brought into the fold of the story, which shall become their story.
Latin from Greek mustikos, from mustēs
‘initiated person’ from muein ‘close the eyes or lips’, also ‘initiate’.

For anyone on that voyage, that means going in,
and then getting through.
To go out there.

Further.

To the edge. That’s where the discoveries are—on the edge.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

Some brands shall always be superficial, transaction-shell-games,
while others seem to have a kind of, pardon the alliteration, mystique.

The point would be that the true value of any brand lies in the depth of its community of transactors.

Go deeper, into and
inside, the mist of being—to be transformed,
a tiered commitment in relational storytelling, reflective user-brand narratives
and delight in the discovering.

BRAND PATHWAYS | EVERYPLACE YOU GO, YOU’RE GOING SOMEWHERE

It’s all to:
experience more.

TIM | GIRVIN | Queen Anne Strategic Magic Studios
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