In case you’ve missed it, check out “talking about you” from last week’s entry.
This blog is built out of one of a series of talks I’ve given on equating brand, enterprise strategy and human-based characteristics. It’s a pretty simple premise. Brands are made by visionaries—people that dream—and so too, their brand genetics can reflect human qualities that are evinced from their leadership.
As we’ve consistently expressed, since the 90s, a distinguishing characteristic is the narrative expression of human kind. It’s how we know ourselves, and too, how we know each other. That is, literally, to an opening inquiry—“what’s your story?”
When you think about your relationships, you’re thinking, “I know this person, since they told me where they’re from, how they found their passion, their explorations to find the seed-work of their dreams and how, progressively, they filled that contemplation into
a meaningful journey of wholeness in their being.
The applies to human recognition of brand propositions—“who founded this brand, how did they start, why, what does it mean for them, and—for me—what’s the story, who’s telling it, why—how’s it different from another brand that does this? Why should I care? “
In anyone’s life circle that could be—“it’s better for the planet, it’s healthier for me as a choice, they’re good people, they’re giving back to cause and community.”
Or, in the etymological framing of the story—and the Latin [relatus]—I can relate to the story—their story is now part of my story; it’s how I live my life.”
There lies in the core of a branding proposition some centerpoint—a driver—the pulses the intention of the enterprise premise. That could be defined as the brand’s heart. We’re making this for “you, in support of your needs in—
which presumes an altered state of being—a transitional state of absence to presence of some feature in experience. You had nothing before, how you have something in this transactional exchange. The heart would be the why of the principle, “coming from us, we make this brand for a reason that is deeper than mere financial exchange. We make it because we like to, and we think you’ll like it too.”
And, of course, in that framing of gestural exchange, commerce happens, compensation occurs. Both sides, one would presume.
In a way, that heartfelt experience in making something—
and bringing it out to the world—is a kind of a layered beautiful encounter.
Beautiful brands are unforgettable.
In our workshops, we ask for benchmarks.
“When you think of it, what would be your penultimate enterprise, that is thoroughly integrated—it’s the kind of a story that you can personally relate to, it’s a brand that is an exemplar of your brand market-place, it’s the best-of-the-best in your category.”
And it’s curious that many times people don’t even categorize brands that are entirely relevant to their channel category. They reference brands that are perfected in their own experience—they’re the most memorable in their own journey of brand-making and enterprise, what they remember, hold dearer in that construct.
They reference, with some frequency, the following “beautiful brands:”
An especial memory of
A long-running experience of
A particular fondness of a drive in a
Volkswagen, an Audi, perchance.
A stay at
A fragrance journey at
Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella di Firenze
A meeting at
An unforgettable, and ever worn
scarf from Hermès.
A service experience
A first shoe
Our links share other stories about our experiences, listening,
and working with these brands.
In our workshopping development, we build journal-like summaries that gather the impressions of team participants, and the brand summaries and workshop conclusions build-out insights and commentaries, as well as recommendations, like the movements and momentum of a day—as in “the hours” of a journal—du jour.
And while this might be about oneself, in your personal journal work, it could also be about the contemplations of a team in working through a string of inquiries.
This has been a long-running proposition for me, and has informed much of GIRVIN’s work, historically, over the last three decades. In a manner, this blog is a journal, but too—in looking towards the heart of knowledge and personal examinations, one might track the personal journeys of the development of wiser ways of approaching the path of the world.
For example, for me, I started in the 70s on the promise of scientific discovery and went from there to book making and book-related design thinking.
That principle is that the journey of the reader of a book is following a string of ideas that supports a premise of arrangement that should follow some discipline in sequence, that is—an architectural grid of content layouts.
The journey of the journal—and international design thinking—led to my explorations of some of the best designers in the world. I sat in classes at Cooper Union, listening to Milton Glaser and Herb Lubalin, then traveled to Europe in the beginnings of my understanding about books, alphabet design, and typographic thinking—in London and Cambridge, Paris, Salzburg, Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Bremgarten bei Bern, Moscow, and Tallinn. That was a range of explorations and discussions from Will & Sebastian Carter at Rampant Lions, to Donald Jackson, Her Majesty’s Scribe, cutting stone at Kindersley’s Studios, parchment and illuminati at Heather Child, gilding Imperial College, books, fonts and hyper calligraphy at Hermann Zapf, Neugebauer, Schmidt and Halbey—out to Maxim Zhukov in Moscow, and Toots in Tallinn. Then home—a monster journey and
journal-making alphabetical adventure.
Where you were is where you go, what was, is—returning as a cycle of discovering, uncovering and rediscovering.
What goes around comes around.
Once opened, a flower can re-blossom.
As anyone knows, the core of the brand is how it shapes its content, that’s a two-sided framing: the offer and the messaging and visualizations around the offer—as we’ve mentioned—the gift of the brand, and the brand’s continent of containment, the reservoirs of communications, that, two, springs back to the strategy of the story, the nomenclature of the brand—its name, the holistic design packaging, its messaging, the interplay of media outlays, built environments and, all wrapped up: integrated holism.
It is a journey, the story reaches out along the pathway.
“If memory serves,” and to that, it does come down to that—what’s memorable?
In our experience, it comes down to this—“I started here, I had an idea, I made something, I thought of my customers—who could use what I’ve made, and what I am making.”
And there was a journey there. Step by step, page by page, hour on hour.
In working with people that are starting brands, its invariably the same string: “I had a dream and I made it.” Intriguingly, even in working with start-up teams—there is always the dream, but so too, the journey of the maker continues.
You’ve heard that telling.
And what of the documentation of that story?
Drawing it out, I see it as a kind of cartography—a mapping,
with stopovers, places visited, people met, colleagues added.
It’s where you’ve been. Where you’re going.
And where you shall be in your brand development procession.
Draw it out, drawn-out, path-marking, path making.
Track the why. What’s on the surface—the skin of the story; and then what’s inside, underneath, behind the inspiration—that’s the soul space of branding.
Usually that means you—the maker.
What do you mean,
what is the meaning of the work,
why you do it?
GIRVIN’s legacy—working around:
strategy | story | naming | messaging | print |
identity | built environments | packaging |
social media | websites | interactive