Finding the community of brand presence
Brooklyn microshops — a complexity of sensorial engagements | Girvin photography

Brand soul placement, finding the applications of presence in impression and experience design.

I’d given a talk, at an international retail design forum at Starbucks recently, exploring the idea of the soul of the brand. Maybe, 400 people showed up — a kind of kickoff to an energizing team development and planning session of global order.

That presentation really had nothing to do with Howard Schultz’s new “Onward” book subtitling — a mere coincidence, but something to the principles of his thinking — “How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing its Soul.”

In working with another global brand, in planning retail and product conception, the idea of strategy and retail / food and beverage planning always will start at the center — what is the very beginning of the soul, the heart of the proposition — the human place? What is the opening dream of the brand — and from there, how does that messaging trail out as a spiraling thread of experience, engagement, or as Kawasaki recently puts it: “enchantment.”

I contemplate the multiplicity of brand places that have presence and meaning – how is the story of the brand tuned to specific geography and siting? If there’s a story –someone savors it here in this environment. But what of other places? How to fit in, how does brand fit in? How do people fit into brand? Do they? Does anyone?

Ask the tribes of Dunkin’Donuts, Starbucks, K-Fried, Chipotle, TGIF, or Chilies, Pinkberry or other ubiquitous experiences. Small or big, in a recent study grouping and audition of place / food / brand — people either relate, belong — or they opt out. Tribes are either in with the clan, or they are away — they buy in, they buy out.

The issue that might be part of that presentment is the notation of relationship: attention, intention, resonance, relevance.

Relationships are everything. Without the certain web of the human and worldly ecosystems, communications are nothing, without meaning. “I relate. I’ve got that story.”

People have a problem with attention — an enterprise’s chance to connection will be fleeting if not momentary. “My life is way too complicated, there’s only so much that I can take. I don’t even have time for trial.”

Intention must be clear, and planned — if there is an enterprise attitude, the tenon of idea, it must be simply accessible. “What is this place, anyway?”

Resonance is about the song of relationship — with the right “song” of connection, relationships share that giving (and receiving.) “I get it. It’s feeling right.”

Relevance is the heart of connected relationship — it is the lever, the leverage of “release” — a kind of connecting by acquisition — if there is a link, it is a loosening congruity, meaning and relationship align. “I have this much time, I have this need, and this place, this offering, fits that need.”

Some might suggest — “how it is that brand could be linked to some spiritual impression?” The point is about people — and what the people want, and what holds them in experience?

What I’m curious about is the layering of humanistic soul in the context of brand presentation and experience — how people sense and grasp brand as something holistically impressive. When we use the word impressive, I’m more thinking about the nature of impressionability. Brand impression is how people hold or embrace content and contact — it’s less about spectacle and mind-jarring; but it’s more to the nature of sequential touch — one touch, on another, and another.

Working on global brands, the idea of sequencing the notes of the core “code” — the brandcode builds in the impressions of connect. What that might mean is that the sequencing of the language of the brand can be tuned and evolved, touched in the character of community, and built to harmonize and sync to the spirit of the place.

The multiplicity of language — spoken, touched and sensed — it’s all about sensate conversations. And product. And sharing. And community place.

Brand places, tuned to context, geographic, localized, hand customized to presence, procession and presentation.

Finding the community of brand presence
Finding the community of brand presence
Girvin | Starbucks imagery

Walking out of the building, Starbucks HQ, I was thinking about the new evocations of place, environments that are re-tuning and newly captivating, refreshing connections.

Finding the community of brand presence
Finding the community of brand presence
Finding the community of brand presence
Finding the community of brand presence
Girvin | Starbucks imagery

Connect — the nexus — community, the nodes of experience, and your proposition will be linking to the center of an idea.

Girvin Cloudmind

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