What is brand building from the inside out?
At its core a brand speaks to a transaction and relationship between people. It is at its center an anthropological connection made tangible through a product or service made operational through process, systems, technology, data, planning, strategy and tactics. But at its heart brands are about people making an impact on the human condition.
It is with this philosophy in mind that looking for the Why in an entrepreneurial venture has become such a fulfilling starting place for the work of brand building. When we understand the Why – the depth reason and consciousness – of the idea itself and then give it language, both verbal and visual, we create a story that will allow an idea to be understood by everyone who touches it. The story allows the idea to unfold as a brand through product development, brand and user experience design, marketing in all its flavors, technology platform design, operational execution, human capital development, resource and financial planning and ultimately the measurement of brand health. Knowing the Why shapes and contains the preconditions for what happens next.
The essential requirement then of inside out brand building is the litigation and transparency around the reason for the idea itself and, more specifically still, the beliefs of the founder(s) and senior management team in devotion to turning an idea into a reality. Beliefs catalyze ideas and beliefs energize everything that will be needed to make the idea a brand. This is achieved at its simplest by spending the time to answer the questions, “What is this really all about,” and “What business are we really in?” In delving into a discussion of depth around this we have found that there are mindful and meaningful strands of key thoughts, feelings and facts that can be woven into a lyrical story that excites everyone about the true core purpose and unrealized potential in the idea.
We call this the ‘transparent container.’ The way to visualize this is simple. In order to drink a glass of water we need both the glass and the water. Without the water there is nothing to drink and without the glass it is hard to really drink the water. The job of the brand owners is to design and create the glass. Into the glass they put some ideas, but the glass becomes fuller and richer vital when they include the ideas and feelings of other stakeholders such as prospects, customers, employees, shareholders, vendors, suppliers, strategic alliances, media and public opinion. The making of brand thus is a collaborative, co-created and educative journey towards what we call a ‘sustainable relationship enterprise’, something that really speaks to the real value and asset creation of a brand being in how it holds a positive and lasting meaning around a change in customer behavior of some kind in its audiences, or ‘brand behavior space.’
The transparent container is the work of the Why? It is the product of ‘languaging’ the beliefs, values and brand promise and the outcomes from considering the brand from the inside out? This is why we believe it is so fundamental to the work of healthy and conscious brand building.