"It's not called the wheel, it's called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels - around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved." - Don Draper
The world needs introspection. The ability to stop, dwell on a moment and conceive of a thought that propels us forward into a new definition of reality. Introspectors can be shown a wheel, the most basic of human technology, and turn it into a piece of nostalgia so powerful it brings us to tears.
They remind us of the why, whenever we get too caught up on the what or the how. Their simple realignments often become the catalyst to meaningful change. Here's what your brand can learn from four of the most well known introspectors...
The Quote: Make it simple, but significant.
Who Said It: Don Draper
Who Are They: Although technically a fictional character, the compelling writing and dramatic acting of AMC's Mad Men brought the idea of Don Draper, a genius yet troubled Creative Director, to life. If you've never watched the show, spend three minutes listening to Don sell the Kodak Carousel. You'll thank me later.
Our Perspective: At its heart, branding is about making and leaving one memorable mark; the simpler the better. You need to stand out in the crowd and rise above all the competitive noise, so make it impactful and meaningful. Many companies don't want to take the risk of memorability, but playing it safe usually isn't significant.
The Quote: Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.
Who Said It: Paul Rand
Who Are They: Everything comes from somewhere and you can trace the rise of the importance of design back to Paul Rand's desk. He awakened corporate America to the idea that good design matters.
Our Perspective: What is a designed experience? Design maximizes every touchpoint for a brand so it impacts as many senses as possible. Consistent, deliberate, meaningful - this is the designed brand experience.
The Quote: People don't buy goods and services, they buy relations, stories and magic
Who Said It: Seth Godin
Who Are They: One day while talking to his nephew, Seth Godin discovered that the boy did not read for pleasure. Instead he played NES games. His solution - write a series of video game themed graphic novels under the pen name "F.X. Nine."
Our Perspective: Describing Seth Godin without using a story would be a travesty. More than perhaps anyone else, Godin understands the power of narrative. People crave meaning and connections, the more relatable a brand’s services and products are to its customers the more they will want it to be part of their lives. The hardest problems are solved by connections, not features. In the example from above, F.X. Nine sold around one million copies of his video game books to a demographic, young boys, whom book distributors had written off as an unreachable market. Story sells!
The Quote: People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.
Who Said It: Simon Sinek
Who Are They: Simon Sinek is a teacher, speaker and entrepreneur who believes people get inspired when they truly understand the why. As he describes it, "Do you know the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do?" This simple premise has helped motivate millions of people.
Our Perspective: People want authenticity, purpose and transparency. The product is just one piece of the equation - customers also want to hear about the company culture, supply chain, manufacturing process, why the product is being made and how it's impacting the world. Don't cover up your "why" with the "what."
Continue reading: Branding Definitions #29-32: The Inventors
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