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Analogic 03: Being Sherlock & Tackling Branding Briefs

There is always much more than meets the eye at briefings for branding projects. And hence the need to put on your finest investigative hat, at these very first meetings. This analogy, it’s quite elementary really.

First things first. Getting to the scene (or boardroom) is critical. The fleeting frown, the momentary shrug, the stray adjective—all these could be missed—over pristine typed briefs with perfect margins. The smallest gestures, words and ideas that escape the collectively approved vision, are often telling of hidden potential, traits and fears. Observation is key, as is filing them away for recall at an opportune moment.

Question everything, and everybody. Nothing is sacrosanct in the room, new questions must follow routine answers. And answers then, must be followed by proof. Conviction needs to be tested and brand truths, however difficult or challenging, need to be acknowledged.

Join the dots, read the signs. Knowing the truth is not enough. The discovery of connections and relationships between brand truths, begins to form the skeleton of the puzzle. It is the route to the solution, not the solution still, alas. But critical, nevertheless, to put you on the right path.

Spot the red herring(s). Branding is exciting business for all parties involved; the prospect of carving a new identity fires imaginations across the board. Therein lies the danger, of falling in love with ideas and aspirations that are seductive but lacking in authenticity or longevity. Above the din of seduction, it is as important to spot and isolate these red herrings, as it is to find the right contenders for the brand.

For the long haul, an interest in everything—the lives of others, the history of Rome, boy bands, bath salts, who knows what else—is an asset. The life of the private investigator (or the brand designer) encounters a veritable world of… well… worlds. There’s no telling where and when references pop up, or characters and back stories. The internet of things may have brought the wold to our doorstep, but to know it all is impossible. It is advisable therefore to cultivate curiosity, with the persistence of a tic, so one may continue to gather information at all times.

This post is part of the Analogic series, a light-hearted look at design practice with real world/life metaphors. Also read: Analogic #1 & Analogic #2.

Illustration credit for featured image: Sidney Paget (From Sherlock Homes, The Man with the Twisted Lip, Strand magazine, December 1891). Link