During the past year, our branding development work has taken me to many culturally-rich places across the country: Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City, Baltimore, Chicago, and Brooklyn, just to name a few. Whenever I’m on the road, I always make it a point to find a city’s heart and its flavor.
Getting out and submerging ourselves in the culture where our clients’ brands exist is one way we find different angles that help inform the thinking, strategy, problem-solving, and creativity we leverage in working with you. These angles help us find the vision and unique position for your brand, then develop and grow a strategy around it. We learn what will be most effective and authentic for the brand and associated products. Authenticity is especially key when our clients want to engage the youth market (Millenials aka Generation Y): to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.
Travel can do the same for you, by both refreshing your spirit and feeding your senses with new concepts and flavors. You learn the global rhythm, whether it's in the underground art scene, fashion (high street, streetwear, and everything in-between), the electronic & dubstep music scene (steadily boiling in LA), or what's going on specifically within your particular industry...if you look for it.
While you can look at pics on the web, BEING there and EXPERIENCiNG it first-hand in its native habitat is an entirely different and far more powerful experience. By allowing yourself to BE IN THE MOMENT, fully aware of all that's going on around you, you gather a richer, more powerful perspective on what your brand can do.
For example, you might be walking down the street to grab some Pinkberry (I must admit I’m becoming a bit of a fro-yo fiend these days, whether at home or away) and you notice a brand image chalked via stencil onto the sidewalk. It might be a company’s brand message, a band trying to get your attention, or something else. Whatever is being said, that's a message that merges street art, environmental design, and guerilla marketing into a unique branding effort targeted to a particular audience. You won't find that brand approach mentioned in any marketing textbook and you might not even find that in KC... but you'll see that in LA, Chicago and Brooklyn. And it works.
Is your brand ready for the street stencil Big Top? Perhaps, but it must be in line with your brand's positioning and speak to your target demographic. Even if it isn't, you can learn a lot by seeing other approaches whose elements you be able to leverage somewhere in your branding and marketing efforts.
Getting out in the world can expose you to ideas that inform and enhance your decisions for the next stage of your brand's life. Some of these ideas may be small and others larger-than-life (seen the Hot Wheels campaign executed in Bogota, Columbia?
), but all can be inspirational.
We believe that brands are living, breathing organisms: they need watering, attention, light, insight, and genuine inspiration on a consistent basis to help them grow and flourish into what you dreamed they could be. So while you are out and about, pay attention to what's going on around you...the world can be a very surprising and enlightening treasure trove of ideas.
Seen something interesting in your travels? I'd love to hear where your business (or just for fun) has taken you recently and how its impacted your soul, and/or your brand. Just drop me a line or share it with us on Facebook
Principal + Lead Brand Navigator