Your brand desperately wants a word with you. Can you hear it? Can you hear it like an author hears the characters he so carefully develops?
Consider this quote from Luigi Pirandello, an Italian dramatist, novelist and short-story writer:
“When the characters are really alive before their author, the latter does nothing but follow them in their action, in their words, in the situations which they suggest to him.”
Think about that. According to Mr. Pirandello, when a novelist has constructed a strong and clear enough image of his characters they tell him what to write. But how can that be? Characters in a book aren’t alive. They can’t speak.
Well, I’m not an author myself, but you don’t have to be Tom Clancy to realize that to be “really alive,” the character has to be meticulously developed to the point where it has become “separate” from the author. The character has separate and distinct wants, needs, and values, even tastes, likes, and dislikes. The result is a crystallized personality, and accompanying point-of-view, that can effectively interact with other characters and situations in ways that seem to come from the character’s own volition, not from the author’s mind.
Now, think of your brand as a character, where the book is the marketplace. Can you hear anything as you write the brand’s story every day? If not, then the brand is probably too ill defined to create this magical illusion of animation inside your head.
If your brand is, in fact, silent, then your next meeting (like, today) should be to start developing a brand manifesto, a video, or some other manifestation, to make the brand’s character clear, strong and with a point-of-view. It won’t be easy because creating such manifestations requires that you make some hard decisions. But each decision you make – the brand is this, but not that – will gather your brand, organize it, give it a voice, and give it an opinion on things as you then reintroduce it to the story we call marketing.
Once manifested, it’ll be time to make brand authors out of everyone in your organization – from the CEO to sales to the people on the phones. Amazing things will happen. Decisions will be less subjective. The brand will be what it wants to be, and not what a select few want in support of their own personal brands. And ideas will no longer be creative for creative’s sake, but creative for the brand’s sake. Always.
At Ideasicle, we know from experience that the projects that get our Experts most jazzed are the ones for the most “talkative” brands. In fact, we find we are most prolific with our ideas when the brand we’re working for simply won’t shut up. That’s a brand with some serious magical animation.