Brand ThemeLaura Savard and Mark Gallagher
More often than not, a company’s vision and mission statements fail to capture the true nature of what the organization’s core purpose is, what makes them different, relevant and authentic. Successful brands are those who understand that the brand’s core concept serves as a compass, guiding the organization, their partners and their consumers.
Brands are essentially shared understanding of a singular meaning. Without a shared understanding of what the brand represents, employee and partner actions are set adrift. It is therefore, critical that the brand team has a theme to guide their efforts.
The brand theme ensures shared understanding by providing a singular concept that acts as lighthouse and litmus test. Your brand theme must be clearly understood by everyone throughout your organization. Your theme must define and articulate the essence of your brand in a clear, concise and compelling manner.
A successful brand theme defines the brand’s core purpose as one, simple and succinct concept that is both quickly understood and easily remembered. This provides brand consistency because ideas work towards it and can be measured against it.
Example: Apple’s theme could very well be “Einstein meets Picasso.” This “A meets B” format provides a spectrum of influence which juxtaposes characters to provide two extremes that work in harmony, here reflecting Apple’s position of artful technology. This forms a unique vocabulary that centers the brand team around a single vision. Despite the task a partner or employee is asked to perform, the question is always “How would the collective mind of Albert and Pablo approach this problem?” Would they agree with this solution or start anew? “Have we focused too much on Einstein and ignored Picasso?”
The very process of developing a brand theme forces the team to align their focus by providing both a common purpose through analogy, simile or metaphor. However, unlike an advertising theme or “Big Idea” this is an internal language. It may be shared with the outside world but it is by no means a tagline or slogan. This ultimately drives the organization’s thinking and actions, not merely messaging and campaigns.
How does your organization discuss concepts relating to your brand? Do you share a common purpose, or is your core purpose lost in translation? Creating a brand theme will help to guide your team and ensure that they stay on track.