There are brands; and there are brands behind brands. The rippling of connections between brands and supporting brand relationships vibrate inwards and outwardly. When there’s a story connected to a brand; it’s part of the legacy, there are connections that make that connectivity work — like, for example, Howard Schultz and Starbucks, or Steve Jobs and Apple — there’s the beginning to a layering of connection between that brand and a person. And the point to that enunciation is that people get that story at the highest level. And they make it their own.

A relationship always starts with a person — and another person. Person to person. A person to dozens, then hundreds of people. A person to thousands of others — and so on. Relationships and communities build and expand. Of course this is profoundly obvious; but the point is that it really all comes down to that. What’s the heart of the brand, the story that lies there, the person or people at the heart of it — their spirit that drives everything, the cult, the culture. And then how does that explicate and fold, or ripple, outwards?

Let’s consider Howard Schultz and Starbucks. Really, is it about him, and what he’s doing now, or is it about what he started and the team that bought in, and built — and continue to build — that visioning outwards. But there’s more to the brand than him alone; there are other propositions — there’s the concept of Trade Free Coffee; who really runs the legion behind that at Starbucks? There’s the legacy of Hear Music — once a disparate group, then aligned, then part of the family; there’s Tazo. Cool little inventive tea brand, Tazo is. Then close alignment, then a story in a story — the connection to the brand; it’s story becomes a layering on another story. Howard’s one story, Starbucks is another, Tazo, Hear, TradeFree, Ethos Water…They all ripple. And, as a business man, I have a connection to Howard. I do know him, I relate to him, and I listen to what he says. And when I’m working in Seoul, Osaka, Jarkarta, or Mumbai — I relate to Starbucks the story, the retail experience. And while I’ve got personal history with Tazo, I now relate to it in the context of Starbucks brandspace. Yes, small; but yes, big. And it goes on and on.

I’m guessing you get that by now.