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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

Exploring exchange, love, cultural branding.

We’ve been exploring this idea of brand, love, warmth and community; and we all know that any enterprise relationship will center on several things — the notion of relevance (“it’s something that I need — and can, and will, afford”), resonance (“the way it’s presented I understand and can relate to”); and finally — “this brand, the story of it, the positioning, what the brand stands for, is something that I will retain a relationship with”, as long as the other components are continuing to be fulfilled. There’s a balance, to the propositioning of enterprise expression, the passionate brand. When all of these elements work together, the brand sings — the reflectivity of brand to person, person to enterprise — suggests a certain mirroring of construct; the story works, people connect to commercial offerings, they share that offering, links occur, memories are built, relationships are extended. One to one, one to one billion. Still the equation needs that balance for retaining links between the person and concepts of commerce.

That idea between the concept of exchange, and notions of giftmaking — tsumaranimono — are part of business action in Japan. And working there for years presupposes that any trip would be offering specially created gifts or gestures that relate to engagement. A reach to a relationship — even an opening introduction — begins with the gestures of greetings, the formality of passing the namecard — meishi — which symbolizes the brand, the heritage, link. These traditions are likely ancient, much like the expression of the “calling card”, or the introductory letter, parchment, papyrus or tablet that references, literally, the name of the person; an added register to legacy, family and lineage of commerce; this even relates to the concept of the human brand, centered on the power of the naming, what the ancients called etymon: the soul of the being.

There are other forms of exchange, in the character of Pochi Bukuro. While this might not be a branded item, per se, it speaks to that crossover — between message, heart and connectivity in relationships. It’s a way, delicately, to offer a gift, a tip, a gesture to giving back.

In creating a Pochi Bukuro, as members of a design event and publication in Japan, we went straight to the heart of giving, reflectivity and exchange. There’s no brand, per se, but there is a message. And that concept of love, in expression of messaging, it’s at the heart of brand. There will be no brand without love.

What brands do you love; what brands love you?

Brands | love | humans:


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