It can take a quest to find what can’t be known from the surface.

What we find—in our BrandQuest®-ing, this team-journeying—the craft of the work—we find patterning:
—Uncertainty—the brand is uncertain about who they are;
—what they’re working towards?
—Why are they—the experiencers inside the enterprise—working on this brand?
—What’s the story; and why should anyone care about that story?
—What is the one key differentiating signal, the one treasured spark, that starts a uniquely-colored fire—what is that?
—What’s the distinction: your brand does this one best, uniquely compelling thing, and no one else’s brand can get close?

I might suggest that these are things that I learned from JJAbrams—who, when I first met him, was kind of an unknown guy, working around this strange television series, LOST, then Fringe, then…That’s changed, he’s mega-dealing.

I was exposed to him—earlier—and learned a lot.

About mystery. Surprise. Concealment. Spectacle and discovery.

E X P L O R I N G   B R A N D S   A N D   C H A N G E

Change is permanent. It’s unceasing. Change could be revolution. It could be the new nowness: innovation; or it could be transmigration [you’re moving from one brandstate to another—a bottle becomes a bag, a tablet becomes a drink—which moves to a different part of the store. Same idea, form is changed—and it’s migrated.]

What patterning emerges?

A key pattern in the mapmaking of innovation—a plan set of actionable examinations and explorations; movement is that transition to change needs some kind of wayfinding tool—some way to get there. Could be a hunch, an intuition, a line in the sand what is the map, the cartography of change? brandsAny journey, a quest, is a questioning. We use organized and moderated query as a team foundation in examining the soul, the constitution of brands, team-based enterprises to arrive at collaboratively built solution pathways. Questions become answers—you ask them, explore them, gather insights that lend itself to strategy. Then you go: tactics unfold.

Part of my history, as some know, is a viral curiosity that takes me—and GIRVIN—to some unlikely places. That’s all over the US. That’s France. That has been Japan; that would be Korea, that would be Java, and on.

Looking for answers, inspirations, solutions, contact with the mysterious.
But places, and people, that require some effort to get to.

We mean this literally and metaphorically.
We don’t look for easy work.
We study the sky for stars, watch for sparks from the storytelling campfire and look for inspiration.
We seek learning relationships.

And I pursue people—
and their brands—
that I admire. Like Abrams, as I’d noted earlier.

And, to the notations below, and my personal history, I am obsessed with the quest—and its question— in the magical, the undiscovered mysticism, the mysterious quale and the occult shimmering—the trembling wonder of that state known as mysterium tremendum.

It’s the shine.

Surely it’s a off-topic—avoided by many.

But since my early years, questing the hidden and the mysterious—going where you are not to go—was, and is, the rigor of the journey. And, I’m not alone.


And that takes me back to Abrams—what I learned from him.

I met this person, JJ Abrams.
He shared a similar tellings about story and inspiration—concealment, mystery, surprise.
And exploration.

And the journey in understanding him—working with him, is a take on how I tend to approach project pathways, inquiries and solutions.

And in being open
to the potentiality of story told—
appreciative feelingness:
w a t c h
f u l l
n e s s.

I find that I have an ongoing awareness of things that are aligned with my own research and interest-sets, but then there’s the rest of the world.
And if I don’t know about it, well, then,
I don’t know about it.

And it can be typical things, that many others live by.
The worship of the American Idol.
The salt of the Mad Men.
Or those that are Survivors.
Kardashians and Jenners.
The Oranges, the Blacks, the Bones.
Cheerios, Frosties and Lucky Charms.
Lawnmowers and lawns.
I just don’t know.
About them.

But when I work on something, a new relationship, a new brand, I dig in, I go deeper, and circumambulate —
I walk the talk of the story.
Go there, be there.
And so it was with JJ Abrams. That is, I had a project to pursue,

and it required that I know something about him.

So I dug in. But the real key is learning more about
his thinking in connecting with him personally—journey closer.
Obviously, then—I didn’t know who he was.
Here’s the content that I found compelling.

Above, Girvin’s work on M:I:III

For JJ — now a widely known writer and director,
(Lost, Joy Ride, Cloverfield, M:I:III, Star Trek, Overlord, StarWars)
the idea was about the uncovering of mystery.

And it’s how he thinks about stories—that is, if you get into the compulsion of exploring a story, you are drawn in.
You get to a place, and examine that, you dig in.
You embrace it; you become psychically connected; you’re not just reading, you are there, inside.
But in any good telling, that revelation becomes a deepening.
That is, you go deeper, get pulled-in deeper; it’s working that way.
The nature of the string and the story. But, with really good stories, in that deeper journeying, we go to the next realm of the mystery.
And if you are a person that is exploring this in your life, you will always be peeling the layers. And it might be just that, peeling the layers. But I’m looking for the layers, and the mystery, of what can be found.

JJ spoke of this.
He had a box that was given to him from a magic shop. I had one of these too. It was a box of mystery, with a big question mark on it.

And this prop, from Tannen’s Magic Shop, speaks well to the nature of all that.
All this—“what’s inside, really?”

The point to clarity is about looking for that next mystery, that next level, that next space to discovering.
And for me, that’s what it is about—brandwork, journey, design.

It’s about finding the magic in things, and knowing that it’s unstoppable; it’s ever-present: it’s every presence. Its presence is forever. And you keep looking, keep going deeper. To find more.

And in finding more, you are more.

For us, too — that quest from M:I:III,
led to Abrams’ rendering of Star Trek.
Worked on that, too.

What mystery, untold, next?


J.J.Abrams filmography
JJAbrams and Disney | StarWars
JJ Abrams and designing for Star Trek
Girvin and the Star Trek logo
The concept of mystery for Girvin