While it might seem profoundly obvious, the brand is inherently human — it’s about people, connecting to other people. People create brands — the notion of a brand DNA is nothing but an explication of the concept of the precisely personal character of the human actions of commerce; it’s not just that a brand has a kind of code, that it runs by — a conceptual, visual and contextual language, but more so, that it’s engineered by a human character, a human presence.
But people forget about that.
But, interestingly enough, that component of expression can be, in some instances, forgotten. There’s a business, and it’s all about busyness. And it can forget about itself – the code, the genomic make up that creates personality. And it can forget about its soul. The soul from which it sprang.
You’ve heard things like this, I’d imagine.
• “I don’t care about what this company feels like — it’s just doing its job!” Okay, robotic, I get it.
• “Why should I be thinking about personality, what’s the point of that — we’re a computerized bank teller machine fabricator — the whole point is that we don’t even have people doing that job anymore”. What’s the point, no people, why have presence?
• “What I’m looking for is to position this business so I can sell it” — one positioning, go for broke.
• “I’m really trying to cut down on the number of people here so I can increase my profits” — another rendering — what is the real cut, anyway?
• “I can’t focus on the soul of this company, what I really need to do is to get my messages lined up so people get what I’m talking about”.
And actually, all of these are salient points. They all relate. That are all relevant to the challenges that we all face, as business people. But we forget. We’re, like, busy. And when it comes to making money, this notion can really spring to the top of mind, in terms of direction and the other parts, the human parts start falling by the wayside. Money surely can be a driver, and forgetting about money as an issue of sheer importance is impossible. But having soul, warmth, passion, the sense of adventure and risk — this is how companies and brands get started, and how they finish, as well. Like people, brands can come and go. Might as well have some warming influence in the process.
Have some soul, as the driver. Be about, from, and for, people. That’s where you came from; and that’s where you are going. Without them, without you, it’s lessened.
In a way, then, part of the strategy of a brand is the branding of the person behind it. Or perhaps, even better, the human is the brand. It’s one person, who’s doing something special, and they are, to the center of the proposition, the brand.
I’ve used that word brand many times. I don’t even want to count how many times, in this article alone. Just envision this: brand is fire, it’s passion, it’s power. It’s a word that’s more than a thousand years old, and it lives right there in that space: flame, campfire, ignition, illumination, spark, warmth, gathering, leadership, light — in the dark.
All unforgettable attributes of what fire means for humanity, for the last tens of thousands of years.
It’s a way of thinking about it that is, indeed — in deed — human.
That’s what I know, for now.