Starbucks, Pike Place Market —
the beginnings of a branded world.

A brand becomes a world:
(tenet, intention, cult and culture, community and audience: engagement + embracement =

This world, built and evolving — founded on the inspiration of its inception — there is a big breath in, finding the beginning point, the opening of the flower of an idea. Then, exhale, and the brand story begins. And, oftentimes, it all starts in the first place, the locus of foundation, the beginning workshop, the tinkering corner, the study, the living loft and shared work spot. The beginning of the dream, in place made.

Story — the seed, the beginnings, founded on story, the layers of the leaves of the telling — the truth, the authentic seeding; all built on story told.


I was looking at a old tool shed, just down the hill from my first house, on the northwest side of the Old Queen Anne Hill, a community that’s close in to the city, Seattle. On 12th West, this was, to legend, the old shop where the Fluke family kick-started the innovation of their brand — Fluke Electronics. Working with them on a global brand strategy and design system, I went back there and stared hard at the door, thinking about their beginnings. Then, decades later, it became the kickoff ink-making studio for Daniel Smith — now an international arts supplier.

I can recall the day that Howard Schultz was standing in the market — gesticulating, in a conductive type of symmetry, the founding story of his visioning. That was decades ago — and, to the relaunch, the revision of his leadership direction, he came back to store one to retell that story.

What of Apple, HP, Nordstrom, Costco, Safeway,
Tiffany & Co., Ace Hardware or any other brand, any other story?
To brand story, the beginnings spark the inspirations of everything.

I do go back — in examining my own history, the old days, the first studio — always in the lilt of the sea. I contemplate — the bindery, waxen threads and bookish glues — stacked of found handmade papers — preparing and preserved underneath my bed; working at the old letterpress shop (scenting inks and metals,) the silkscreen studio (the wafted fragrance of xylene,) the glassworks (heat, lead, glass powder,) the farmer’s garage (scented deep and kerosene, gasoline, diesel and hardened, curled iron shavings), the string of early loft workshops.  I was thinking about the foundations of brand and heart — the heated enthusiasm of the brand, that opening story.

Time and time again, in working with teams, there is invariably the idea of the opening heart and soul that sets the foundations for the gravity, and the flowering of the brand. People go back to the beginnings. People, or perhaps even one person, or two — a circling ring — are at the beginning.

In the pulsing radiance of the fiery heat of inspiration, the notion of the humanity of the brand is something that is sometimes set aside — where things, enterprise ideas, come from.

Good, always, to remember.
Memory is where the story begins, how it is transferred, and where it goes.

The strategies of rippling genius >