Increasingly, one of the great pleasures we have at Wunderkind is the opportunity to design brands and campaigns from scratch – or to completely overhaul an existing brand to give it a very new and hopefully bigger presence in the marketplace. This is very exciting work. In recent internal discussions about several brands we’ve been working with, we developed a very interesting and fun analogy for describing the process of creating a powerful brand from conception to a fully-grown being.
The analogy goes like this: Imagine if a group of scientists had the chance to design the perfect human being from scratch. (I know this sounds strange and rather sci-fi at first, but bear with me.)
1) If they had all the right scientists involved, they’d probably start with the very DNA of the person. They’d engineer the person to have excellent genetics, giving him a healthy and strong basis for success on Planet Earth.
2) Next, another group of scientists, probably anatomy and physiology experts, would build (or perhaps grow!) the person based on the DNA code into a complete physical specimen. This requires great knowledge and skill when it comes to physically actualizing that DNA.
3) Finally, once the person was alive and activated, they’d proceed with the final step: Teach him the correct values and behaviours for the time and culture that they’re bringing him into. Then, with supervision, they’d release him into the right places – let’s say schools and social settings – in order for him to learn more and create connections with other human beings. It’s the person’s behaviour that ultimately will determine whether he’s truly successful and becomes a well-loved part of the society he lives in.
The sequence is remarkably the same (and way less ethically loaded!) when it comes to creating a successful brand. We begin with a clear sense of the right DNA — which in our case is afforded by the Structural Mapping Process (SMP) of our sister company Scientific Intelligence. Then we develop strategy and structure based on that DNA. And finally we “encode” into the brand the right behaviours and messages, which is the marketing/communications plan and the corporate behaviour of the brand or company. As my friend Brett Channer likes to say: “Brands are behaviour.” And then we release our creation to the public, carefully monitor, learn from the culture and its responses to our brand, and improve our chances of success. Many agencies and marketers try to stitch parts together without going through phase 1 or carefully thinking through phase 3. The result – can be a Frankenstein. Yikes. Instead, we suggest the equivalent of the handsome Jude Law character in AI – nearly perfect!