Brand Strategy

Poetry in branding

A truth about branding, found in the most unlikely place…

There’s a poem that’s almost impossible to track down online – ‘Identity’ by Elizabeth Jennings. Although it’s a love poem (of sorts), it holds a real truth for those of us in the branding business.

The first lines run as follows:

“When I decide I shall assemble you
Or, more precisely, when I decide which thoughts
Of mine about you fit most easily together,
Then I can learn what I have loved, what lets
Light through the mind.”

This, to me, is the essence of brand. As I suggested in my ‘I’ll have a P please, Bob’ post:

Brand – this is the mental image a customer has of a product, company or concept. They own this image – not the marketer, advertiser, PR chief or even the CEO.

Consumers build the picture of any given brand from the little pieces of interaction (real or vicarious) that they have with it. And the brand association is that much stronger when it applies to them and their lives (what fits “most easily together”).

Somehow, as branders, marketers, creative types, we’ve got to align what we want with what they want. We’ve got to deal with concepts inside the headscape of our consumers, aligning them to the desired brand outcome. We’ve got to make sure that our customers’ assembling of us is the same as the assembly which we ourselves hold true.

That’s one hell of a challenge. That’s an enormous mountain to climb. That’s what’s so damn exciting…

If you’ve never read the poem – or any of Elizabeth Jennings’ work for that matter – get down to a library and find it. It’s well worth the hunt…


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