The origin of a passion
"A GREAT BRAND IS A STORY THAT'S NEVER COMPLETELY TOLD. A BRAND IS A METAPHORICAL STORY THAT CONNECTS WITH SOMETHING VERY DEEP - A FUNDAMENTAL APPRECIATION OF MYTHOLOGY. STORIES CREATE THE EMOTIONAL CONTEXT PEOPLE NEED TO LOCATE THEMSELVES IN A LARGER EXPERIENCE."
- SCOTT BEDBURY
My whole life, I have loved stories - reading them, writing them, listening to them. I suppose, to be more precise, I could say that my whole life I have loved the way stories make me feel. Empathy, wonder, heartache, delight, amazement - stories unlock my imagination and open my inner world of images and senses to a colorful array of experiences and feelings beyond my known reality. Stories stretch, deepen, illuminate and give meaning to our lives. They are profoundly human.
There are so many ways to define the art and science of branding; I won't attempt a thorough dissection here. But one way to look at brands is through the lens of stories, myths and beliefs. As Bedbury describes above, we find our way through life (through our dense personal and shared histories, through our rich, complex cultures) following a map of stories laid out before us, helping us to define ourselves and our world in a larger human narrative not unlike characters in a vast novel, charting new chapters. The map is laid out by society, our communities, our family, and - whether we like it or not - by the brands that populate our world.
And here is the trick at the heart of this passion of mine: the compass we use to navigate this map is not made of a magnet but rather of feelings. Emotions guide our way through this world and inform our every decision. They are the catalyst for every action and the reason for every pursuit. That may be obvious enough - but it's central to the work of great brand strategy, brand building, and brand storytelling. It's so central that sometimes it's easy to forget.
My goal as a branding professional is to explore the shared space in which brands and emotions coexist and inform each other, and use that knowledge to create more meaningful and impactful brand experiences. I believe deeply in the potential that strategically soulful brands have to connect humans, enrich experiences and improve lives. In fact, I'm certain that the brands of the future will need to understand this landscape of emotional resonance (and I mean really understand) or they won't find traction with the coming generations.