Defining the Dream: Branding Guide
Brand Bible: Part 1
Dreams and desires are incredibly personal to each business and founder and we’re not here to tell you what they should be. Rather, it’s up to you to invest time in considering your driving force.
What’s the dream for your company?
Why are you diving into this?
Express your passion.
When coming up with answers, be sure to think about it both in the verbal and visual sense. What are the words that encompass your dreams? Brainstorm a list of words or phrases, and then narrow down the selection to the most significant choices. I like to compare this to a consommés, in which flavors of a stock are boiled down so they’re extremely intense. Each word you choose should matter.
In terms of visuals, the images you choose to represent the world your target consumer lives in. It should be comparisons to other broader concepts. What are the external things that complement your idea?
For example, if we look at cars, we see evidence of external influences playing a role in their design. Cadillac’s last fifteen years signature design included sharp angles and creases so the vehicles embodied a sense of the fast, stealth fighter. Luxury brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini went on to adopt this angular style, but the Aston Martin drew from other influences. Because of its close partnership with the James Bond franchise, Aston Martin designs incorporated both creases and curves in the exterior design of its cars. Doing so helped to bring the sleek, sexy, traditional quality of the James Bond identity to the vehicles.
Defining the dreams and desires for your brand allows you to transform a typical product into something extraordinary through the unique influences you choose. It’s important to note that dreams and desires are both relevant to the short-term and long-term future of your business. One book that I’ve found to be extremely valuable and eye-opening is Salim Ismail’s Exponential Organizations, in which he coins the term “MTP,” or Massive Transformative Purpose. Ismail explains that an MTP is a grand, far-reaching goal, an idea for how to transform the industry. It is greater than your product and the success of your business, and should speak to how your business is relevant to the world. Elon Musk serves as a great example of a businessman with an MTP to change the way transportation is perceived. While that statement is seemingly too large and unattainable, Musk has successfully been able to achieve this through his SpaceX programs and innovative Tesla designs.
I was fortunate to work with Nike in its early years and had the chance to witness its foundation being built. Phil Knight, one of the co-founders who also served as CEO, had no idea the success that his company would become, but from the start he had a clearly defined MTP. Rather than trying to create the world’s greatest shoe company, he was more focused on finding a way to make footwear function more suitably for athletes. His desire was for Nike to improve an athlete’s performance through the footwear experience. Even as a small company, we dedicated our time and resources to exploring and experimenting and were less concerned with profit and mass success. Of course there were mistakes and flops, but Nike was continually willing to take risks that the consumers weren’t ready for. Phil Knight’s MTP continues to be a relevant theme that drives Nike’s production today. Much of the company’s growth in size and success can be attributed to the early dreams and desires that were defined in the foundation.
In documenting dreams and desires into your business’s Brand Bible, be conscious of staying out of the details and focusing on a vision that will remain relevant even as your company grows and evolves.