Brandspirit and the
spiritual and mystical brands
What is the shadow brand,
and what is the brand of light?
For a long time, it’s been said — “you can’t use that word ‘spiritual’ around business people, it will scare them off.
Use ‘mystical’ — get outta here!”
I never listened — even to the most well-intentioned colleagues.
Because in my explorations of brand,
it is all there.
The inherent character of brand — its very etymology is fire.
What does that mean for a business?
Set it on fire?
No, it would imply that the character of its leadership,
its direction, is impassioned and ignited — not a doddering shuffle.
Fire is risk.
Fire gets out of control.
But in that immolation, sacrifices are offered,
change emerges, renewal occurs.
Fire clears out deadwood, old brush,
and new growth takes root.
And fire is the mystical allegory of transformation;
fire is alchemical — it is the hearth and holder, the transformer,
the translational vessel beneath the crucible.
And any brand worth its salt is about change, transformation, gift, sharing, exchange
and the mystery of interconnectedness, and
the thread of being — one to one,
one to one billion.
That is the blood surge of passionate commitment.
But that issue of commitment implies
a walk over to the other side,
past the shadow to a different light.
in the dark to
find the Light.
In the years of working: stateside, internationally, what I find — in the quest for soul, the deep heat and heart of brand — is that there is an enterprise model, and then there’s the brand soul within — it’s a hidden language.
Dark, it’s the shadow; light, it’s the shining.
Some brands, and I’m not naming names, have a dark hidden side — shadow brands — I call them.
Others are luminous — perhaps not so obviously from the onset — but in exploration,
you can find the Light of a team of leaders.
Or you can find the dark soul that
hides behind, lurking in the shadows.
Thinking of it, what comes to mind?
What is BrandLight — and which brand team lives as a BrandShadow?
Brands that are about contributing to humanity, goodness, wellness —
they have a fundamental purpose in commerce — brands that are luminous.
Surely, they seek compensation — that is the nature of exchange —
but they are inherently light bearing;
they’re contributing to a higher causality.
Some number of years back, I worked with a former GIRVIN employee,
who espouses the idea of building a brand
on the premise of
a higher search in Christian mysticism.
This brand, of Light,
is called sacred voice,
or Vox Sacra.
He wanted to build a layered visualization of his Christian belief, founded in fashion. To fulfill the truth, we dug deep into the GIRVIN rare book library, a collection of tomes that I’d been gathering for four decades — since my college years.
but as well, studies in symbolism,
art and architectural history,
To me, it all aligns
with the search.
How far, how deep are you
looking, what are you looking for,
and what lies within and beneath.
But in this instance, to building Shawn’s brand,
a collection of books called emblemata.
These books, four hundred years old,
study and create mystical revelations of signs and symbolic experiences
and metaphors that offer insights into
the nature of experience and living life: deep.
I found them fascinating and began to build a collection of them.
More so, I saw them as a path to support Shawn’s visioning.
In addition to the art for the brand —
found, gathered and assembled to be applied to garments,
other patterning was created —
a code of calligraphy in a string of scarves:
The point to the work, as mystically defined as it might been,
was celebrated in the gathering of symbologies and layers of messages
that spoke to profound personal intention
and the vitalization of spirit.
Intent, like tendon, to intend
is to stretch out,
to reach, to lean forward.
And like any brand that is well-defined,
what is the reach, the intention?
What — light, dark — where is your brand,
where are you going?
TIM | GIRVIN PIKE PLACE STUDIOS
HUMAN BRAND DEVELOPMENT | The strategies of rippling genius