That blue-chip brands are so effective in their communication is, of course, no accident.
It is entirely by design and at the heart of the planning process for many brands is a simple device that can be used as a powerful thought-starter by individuals who want to be heard more clearly and to bring a greater sense of direction to their life.
The device is called a brand key. It is used to clarify the vision, values and personality of brands.
Where there is a successful marketing campaign, there will be a strong brand key that isn’t simply taking up a few bytes on a server but is informing campaign activity on a daily basis.
It mandates how inanimate objects should shape their communication and interaction with human beings.
It is an established part of the alchemy of marketing. It helps to transform a skin-care product in to something that purports to champion purity, honesty and optimism (Dove).
A running shoe into something that focuses on care and inspiration (Nike).
And an ice-cream in to a servant of the common good (Mr Whippy. OK, Ben & Jerry’s).
Such marketing leaps are achieved via a process that has great potential in the executive coaching environment. The process asks searching questions and demands robust answers. Application of the conclusions must be rigorous and consistent.
Applying a brand key to an individual would generate questions such as:
- What are your core strengths?
- How do you stand out from the crowd?
- How do you want to be seen by the world?
- What are your personal values?
- What is the essence of your being?
No surprise if your own answers started to form as you read questions 1 to 3 above. And that numbers 4 and 5 seemed both more difficult and less immediately relevant. For many, such questions are not easily answered without reflection, consideration and a positive assertion that life can indeed be purposefully orchestrated – that it need not be an accident, happy or otherwise.
Investing the time, and daring, in answering these more challenging questions might help you to be clear, heard and understood. They might prove to be the key that opens the door to the greater sense of direction and confidence from which flows positive and authentic personal communication.