I can’t say it enough times. Branding is serious business and it absolutely isn’t about how trendy your new colors are or how many design award the font you picked wins. A living brand is the organizational constitution. It has to be built on your ethics and vision for the world as much or more than it has to embody your distinctive competencies and a memorable positioning statement. Brands live and breathe and they flourish and wane as well. After almost 13 years of business, we re-branded IDEAS earlier this year. From the outset, we decided to use our own protocol- one that has helped us create new brands for clients all over the world. It was, in a word, tough! We took ourselves through the nail-biting uncertainty of market research, our own StoryJam design process (TWICE!), a rigorous brand chartering effort and finally a long and meticulous nomenclature and design review. The result was, we believe, right on target and early returns are that it is working for us but here is a crucial step I never before took proper stock of: taking the time to step back and reflect before the final push.
For me, it happened aboard a long flight from Stockholm to Orlando watching the sun set twice out the window. It was only when I was able to stop pushing, move back from the work and say “What does this company do and what story is it trying to tell me?” that I made room for insight. Insight is a critical component of meaningful innovation. It is both the springboard for new ideas and the focusing lens for their application. If you think about it, sculptors and painters have to step away from the canvas to really “see” the painting in order to know how to continue. Musicians have to put down the guitar and walk away (in my case, often for weeks!) in order to create some clarity around a lick or a lyric. It stands to reason that the same is true for the really critical important process of creating the next version of an organizational masterpiece.