Monday, September 17, 2007

Stress out your brand

(george hincapie's tour of missouri victory)

Olivier Blanchard has an intriguing post on adaptive progression (and what it means for your brand) over at the Brandbuilder Blog. not only is the post dead-on when explaining the cyclical nature of brand development, it does two very important things in my mind:
1) Justifies the importance of consistent brand planning and strategy
2) Explains the need to stress out your brand.

number one is easy to understand, number two however is something we agency folks and our brand-side clients are extremely guilty of. when Olivier puts it in athletic terms, it is obvious: stress out your body, build muscle, perform better. i see this translated (in the brand world) as taking chances. doing something unprecedented. scary. stress out your brand.

i'm talking about the ideas we have that may not see the light of day after they are discussed to death. or the executions that are so unprecedented that the fear of the unknown neuters the concept. or marketplace communication that differentiates the brand instead of follows the same old structure. these are the brand stresses that have the potential to truly strengthen.

sure, stress comes with risk. just as i took a risk yesterday bolting out and pushing my speed up a notch during my last long run before the Chicago Marathon. i could have pulled something. i could have crashed at mile 20. but i didn't. and because i extended - progressed - i finished the run at a higher level than i'd started. it was worth the risk.

proper brand planning creates the same powerful base that athletes rely on to propel them into peak periods. allowing that base to build a brand to the point of peaking (through great executions, risks, big ideas) can yield huge gains.
there's merit in thinking of your brand within Olivier's above training cycle. it's what we often address in annual planning. but there's even more reward available in pushing those peaks past what you're used to. unfamiliar brand territory. brand stress.

great post, Olivier. it's a visual i'll use to remind myself of the importance of not just a solid cycle, but the progress that must be attained within.

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Blogger Esue said...

Good luck in Chicago my friend!

4:04 PM  

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