I apologize for the potty word, not the invective. At Rollins College I studied anthropology and a piece of learning that has carried forward quite well in my career is the idea of “functionalism.” It suggests that every cultural phenomenon is the result of some function in the community. This theory along with the Darwin’s natural selection (which suggests positive physical and morphological traits are selected for for future generations), comprise the two key rules I use when brand planning – trying to find an idea and organizing principle under which to conduct brand commerce.
If you are going to grow crops as a farmer, it’s important to know what type of soil you have. What the minerals are. What annual rainfall is? How much sun the field gets. Predation too. In other words, you understand the natural order? It’s a key pursuit in brand planning too.
The natural order in brand planning is not found by asking “How do I make more money?” then working backwards. Yet that’s how many commercial enterprises roll. They start with the money and deconstruct. The converse is often true when it comes to start-ups. They construct. And as Facebook and Twitter will tell you, not always with monetization as a starting point. The most successful start-ups follow nature then build. The least successful start-ups lose sight of nature and are governed by instant cash. Companies that lose sight of nature, spend time genetically engineering results and upset the natural order.
If you know what’s natural in your category, you can better predict what will be natural for consumers. Peace!