In discussing branding and marketing in Business 2.0, IDEO Creative Director Paul Bennett raises a question about knowing and works in a reference to Blaise Pascal. Nice.
He's none too happy with industry jargon and unnecessary complexity in "Time for Some Buzz-Kill" and writes:
The hardest thing that marketers and brand managers have to do right now is simplify. Marketing and branding need to get back to first principles -- people, feelings, stories, and things....
I know it looks really smart to put up a chart with 45 words and benefits and benefits-of-the-benefits and apply some quantum physics, to 'ladder' the words with a cleverly named process and make them all add up to 20. A tip: Take Blaise Pascal's quote 'The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter,' and stick it up on your wall....
We need confidence in the fact that we (consultants and our clients) will find those insights together, out in the real world, not behind some one-way mirror.
Bennett's critical send-up is not far from the mark. That business consultants would ever turn to pseudo-science to measure the emotion behind brands is amusing on one hand, but in another sense, awfully revealing because the applied logic is off-target.
It aims for the head.
For what it's worth I agree with him. Humans inhabit narratives where meaning is not necessarily burdened with the need to "get to 20," as it were. Branding consultants might thus want to absorb some poetry, which through a different metric targets the chest and urges us toward a felt conclusion. So instead of industry jargon, instead of gilded nonsense and faux-physics, instead of serious business slides and ham handed huff-puffery, I say read some meter and rhyme. And If you must arrive at insight together, share a book.
The Clark County Public Library in Winchester, Kentucky has a wonderfully expressive motto, biblio ergo zoom, which, if applied to marketing might read biblio ergo brand. Now there's a first principle that grabs me.