Two recent clients of What’s The Idea? have provided great strength to my views regarding branding. They affirmed things I’ve learned over time but now provide wonderful analogs for my practice. The first client is a premier geotechnical engineering firm. These men and women create the foundational plans for large buildings, bridges and other load-bearing structures. They keep rivers where they belong and 100 story buildings from settling. They are perhaps the most important, yet unseen, engineers in the world. Genius scientists and creative thinkers walk the halls of this company. It is from this company that I learned about solid foundation. A brand strategy (defined as an organizing principle for product, messaging and experience) requires a solid foundation.
The second client is an arm of a large business consulting firm paid to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Pandemics. Natural disasters. Huge security threats. This company is paid to create strategy. Articulation of problem. Proof of concept. Solution design. Measures of success. In a word: strategy. They don’t sell stuff. Were this company brought in to help the Red Cross after the Haiti earthquake, more than 6 houses would be built today. Strategy saves time and creates efficiency. Brand strategy, does that same. I joke about making paper. But brand strategy is a paper sale. A PPT sale. When I leave an engagement, clients have a claim and three proof planks to govern marketing. I don’t sell stuff. As the old Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for lifetime.” Peace.