Martin Lindstrom 3.4.08


Human branding, the brand: human.

If ever there was a person that had created a brand presence around his very embodiment, it would surely have to be Martin Lindstrom. Still, given the experience — and the expertise — of his global wandering and exploration, he’s a thought leader. And he’s working hard to promulgate and build on that brand — the brand called Martin Lindstrom. I respect his thinking. And his stamina. And, frankly, the reality of his branding strategy for him — the person, the presence, the persona.

What’s the distinction?

The embodiment of the human. The body. Etymologically, it’s this: person
The last coinage, the French — 1225, from Old French persone “human being” (12c., Fr. personne), and finally, born from Latin persona “human being,” originally “character in a drama, mask,” and possibly borrowed from Etruscan phersu “mask.” This may be related to the Greek: Persephone. Later, there are political applications, of course. The use of -person to replace -man in compounds and avoid alleged sexist connotations is first recorded 1971 (in chairperson). Spinning the word outwards –personify first recorded 1727. Personable “pleasing in one’s person” is first attributed in expression around 1430. The use — in person “by bodily presence” is from 1568. Person-to-person is first recorded 1919, originally of telephone calls.

To time framing, roughly, the origination: 1330, “fact of being present,” from the Old French — presence (12c.), and ultimately from the Latin: præsentia “a being present,” from præsentem. Another meaning — “carriage, demeanor, aspect” (especially if impressive) is from 1579; that usage of “divine, spiritual or incorporeal being felt as present” comes from 1667. Presence of mind (1665) is a loan-translation from the French. présence d’esprit, the Latin: præsentia animi.

Persona: coined: 1917, “outward or social personality,” a Jungian psychology term, from L. persona “person” (see person). There is an earlier attribution — (1909) by Ezra Pound in the sense “literary character representing voice of the author.” Persona grata (1882) is from Late Latin, literally. “an acceptable person,” originally applied to diplomatic representatives acceptable to the governments to which they were sent; persona non grata is attested from 1904 (plural: is personæ non gratæ).

To the context of branding, the person, the presence — these sentiments are aligned. Martin Lindstrom’s positioning is about brand in the context of business expression. My positioning, the thinking of Girvin is that brand is about heart and fire. Surely there are enterprise outcomes. But the fire, the original etymological link to brand is all about the person. What people stand for, in unison, to tell the story of a proposition of value to a community of relationships.

Lindstrom, in this reference, specially lines to the fire of the story, but it’s held at the sidebar, rather that being the central thrust of positioning. Part of the Starbucks challenge, in the marketing experience to date, is about failing to focus on the heart of the story, the warmth of the brand — and more on the premise of rivaling growth. And what happens then is: “who cares?” And that is emerging. Who cares?

What is the story, who’s telling it, who cares about it?

Here’s Lindstrom’s reference, for expansion and your exploration: