BRAND OBSERVATIONS, PARTICIPATION IN WATCHFULNESS.
In the past, in my observations of brand experiencers, it has been a long journey—and a string of compelling notations of learnings about people and how they relate to brands.
I think back to my beginnings,
working on Nordstrom and other department store design in the 80-90s, it was about creating a strategy of building integrated campaigns, performance installations and window design, signage, banners, shopfronts, window font work, all synchronized.
I learned first hand: you do the work, build the system, design identities, alphabets, integrations—then you show up for the reveal. That’s where the learning is—showing up for the launch—if you want to see how the brand performs, meet the people that show up for the story.
As with all the openings, I was there for the installations, signing and window dressing, interiors and displays—specifically to see what happens at the event deployments, the gala, the story opening launch. What do people think? I was looking for awe and this key emotion shined through.
See how it works—what do customers think?
To the notion of brand watchfulness—you’ve got to go in there, learn more, explore more in the listening, sharing and examination—be live in the moment.
Working with Procter&Gamble, we built a “Beauty Junkie” team of brand enthusiasts and counselors—it was our dive into a line of thinking and sharing in support of our work on Sebastian Professional—they were our experiencers, our participants—they were how we learned how to think everyday beauty—but there was a process of testing—building relationships of query—brand watch. That journey was understanding place—watching the competitive spheres, listening to consumers and building archetypal pathways—and talking, testing, listening,
We invent tools to
explore, excavate, explicate:
A sampling of Girvin Brand Listening Spheres—who’s here, what are they doing, what do they care about—why this brand, and not that? Thinking spherically, as in a circle of experientiality—you know more about the holism of exposure—in all media. Store design, packaging, websites, user reconnaissance—they all interplay in the selfsame cartography of procession and customer pathways, vistas and selection processing.
Get into their houses, look in their pantries, reach-in, listen more, talk less—if the story’s been told, better to listen to the response, rather than jabber over the top of the participant—it’s for them, not you. We organize that circle of circumspection by brand, spheres of influence:
And the break out of those analyses:
Exploring brand spheres composites:
We break it out, segment it, tier and layer the content into groups that build towards pillars and an architecture—which arrives at positioning:
Where is your brand, what do you stand for—and why do you stand for it?
What’s the story, who’s telling it, who’s listening to it, what’s it sound like?
And finally, in the larger scope of analysis:
Messaging brand structure:
Outcomes in visualizations and testing modules:
It’s never a matter of presuming that it will “work out,”
you’ve got to show up to see
how it does work out.
To each of the campaign integrations below— we were there for the installs and guest reveals—from there, we learned. Made changes, simplified identities, pushed detailing, merchandising
In the intertwining of life, work and brand,
there are keys to actualization and mobilization.
And it’s all about that, tiering the story, finding the right voice, speaking the right language towards
finding that beauty that lies at the heart of the human proposition:
In our experience, the notion of attention and focus are at the heart of how people either reach-out, or reach-in—it’s how the exchange works.
In a conversation, you’re on, or you’re off:
one is listening, or failing to pay attention—eyes wander, posture dissolves, stance fails a commitment to engage.
People lean-in if they’re listening, and they lean away of they’re not.
Leaning and listening are aligned— they suggest the notion of engaging by
committing in the posture
And in the work of design and attentionality,
the reach of the work is something
that creates a kind of magnetism
between brand and relationships.
The proposition of listening is
allegorical to the storytelling of brand—people “relate.”
And to relate is to carry. Carry forward: that story.
And, like relaying and the race of champions—they sync with each other.
To relay, in the original French context is literally, “to leave behind.” Or to “leave again.” And sharing, listening, clarity is a kind of leaving— moving from one tier to another, the team passes the story along, newly fresh in each telling.
But you can’t really listen
if you’re not clear.
t i m | GIRVIN QUEEN ANNE STUDIOS
BRANDS, MYSTICISM AND MAGIC—rethinking brands, innovation and soul