Saturday, January 5, 2008

On finding your brand story.

One of the primary (and personal favorite) tasks of my past career was helping clients discover their authentic brand stories. I stress the word discover (rather than create) because that's the first rule for ensuring authenticity: Don't make stuff up if you can help it. People won't believe you and you won't go to heaven.

Rather, dig. Blow dust off old files. Open up the archives. Interview the founder or her heirs. Read old clippings, yellowed and faded ads. Look in old patent filings for clues. Usually, somewhere in the founder's own words, own handwriting, is an anecdote or revelation about a defining moment of clarity that served as a quiet call to arms. It's simply been forgotten. Or, more often, buried under a ton of competing marketing claims and jargon, rendered meaningless by the noise surrounding it.

Simply shining a light on it in its infant state is often all that's needed. And don't think the seemingly mundane or aging can't be made colorful and heroic with a little effort and a slight skewing of POV.

My surname, for example, is Crawford. Nothing too exciting on the surface there. Unless you look at its origins. Gaelic: Cru+Ford. Translates literally as Blood+Pass.
Read a bit more, and you discover that the village of Crawford was the site of a major battle between the Scottish resistance forces led by William Wallace (See the movie Braveheart) and The English.

Suddenly, it's not so hard to see a story developing. One that's authentic, rich in storytelling possibilities, based in fact.

No comments: