A foundational element of my branding practice is “proof.” When I start out, sans strategy, I am seeking proof. Proof of what? I do not then know. I’m also on the lookout for deeds – the things people do in pursuit of commerce advantage. I filter out all the flah flah, adjectives and marko-babble about quality and people, and I mine for evidence.
In Lucent Technologies first ad after breaking off from AT&T, it claimed “Invented the Transistor.” Now there’s a pregnant piece of proof. An example of a question I might ask executives during discovery is “What business practice is uniquely yours?” Hunting for deeds.
Today it was reported in the NYT that a Viking site may have been found in Newfoundland by archaeologists. A site that could help re-write North American history. They used input from oral Viking history but it is proof that will seal the deal: Smelting evidence, fire broken boulders, wall remnants.
If you are doing a branding project and your brand strategist curls your hair with talk of symbolism, authenticity, and customer journey you are likely in for a long ride. But if you can tell the brand planner is on the hunt for proof, deeds and evidence, you’re know they are mining in the right place.