Back to basics?

MISSOULA, Montana – After a chunk of time off, I’m struck by how over-complicated the world of branding and brand transformation is often presented as.

Bow ties; 2x2s; 3-,5-,7-,9-,12-step approaches; bridges; onions; venn diagrams; radar charts … but they really all boil down to the same thing. Collins said it, Porras said it, Sinek says it, HBR says it, Gallup has said it, Wally Olins certainly said it too — and I’m sure many others as well who aren’t top of mind:

There are some immutable principles, although the technologies and tools used to manage a brand are in constant motion, constantly evolving. It starts with a core principle or central organizing idea – call it essence, DNA, purpose, vision, mission, values, or what you will (in numerous combinations). It then needs to permeate every operational facet of your organization and connect to your people, so they can engage effectively with each other and with your external stakeholders. And then you need to ensure that everything you do to influence your marketplace (and drive sustainable growth – probably the newest idea among the lot) is aligned to that – across product, service, communication, talent acquisition and management, etc.

Then again, it’s much easier said than done … which keeps consultants and agencies and in-house teams busy, and will continue to do so.

Today we have more tools, more data, more channels and more ways of creating and co-creating systems, content and ideas to connect people with our brands. Tomorrow we’ll have even more. But the basics never really change, no matter how you dress them up.


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