Brand mystique: a tribute to Colin Morley
Eleven months ago, my colleague and fellow Medinge Group member Colin Morley was murdered by terrorists at the Edgware Road tube station in London.
When Colin passed, people posted memorials at the bethechange.org.uk web site, including Dr Deepak Chopra.
Colin and I had limited email contact and I recall that he emailed me at a time when I was going through some difﬁculties. My impression was that I was less than my usual courteous self—while I did not cuss or wrote anything that could be construed as rude, I couldn’t give him as much time as I would have wanted.
When Colin was conﬁrmed as one of the victims of the July 7 bombings in London last year, I promised his family that we at Medinge would do what we could to carry on Colin’s legacy.
So, in this vein, and leading up to the ﬁrst anniversary of Colin’s passing,
In 2004, he wrote to me: ‘I have been reading your site and your chapter in Beyond Branding and I wanted to thank you for inspiring me. I have struggled to make my marketing life ﬁt my out of work life in community building and other consciousness raising activities. You and Chris [Macrae] are showing me a way forward. …
‘I think of brands as creating the language inside a business. What words do people use? What issues are discussed? What is the body language and the verbal emphasis? Vibrant brands sum up the meaning of the company proposition in a mental picture that people have to look inside and check before they open their mouths and speak.’
This is a wonderful analogy, and begins to point to the brand-as-community idea that writers like Stefan Engeseth uses. Never mind what the Diktat from head ofﬁce is, the way a brand is perceived is dependent wholly on the way its audience sees it. Even inside a business, there is an audience which has to interpret and express the brand, so how good that brand is depends on the words used internally. The issues—which may range from management to human resources—will steer a company.
I do like Colin’s last sentence above. If the brand is vibrant, one is compelled to look deeper inside the organization. People begin wondering, ‘Is there a mystique there?’
The trick in the 2000s, I imagine, is how to balance the consumer desire for transparency and audience engagement with creating a brand mystique. If audiences are indeed in control of brands, then it follows that the mystique can only be created by those audiences. Therefore, an organization has to co-opt audiences, or, better yet, to inspire them, to create that mystique.
That can be done by generating a core idea that is so universal and compelling that others become brand ambassadors. Religions, and even cults, do this—but the tools can be used by any organization that wishes to do a greater good. Social responsibility seems to be the most logical tack to take if an organization wishes to take advantage of 2000s’ trends and generate mystique and a compelling meaning behind a brand.
Del.icio.us tags: CSR social responsibility brand branding audiences organizations management Colin Morley spirituality business Deepak Chopra Posted by Jack Yan, 00:55
Thanks for stopping by my blog, Jack. I think it's great that you're carrying on Colin's legacy. Sounds like he had some great things to say.
# posted by floatykatja: 6/09/2006 10:22:00 PM
Thanks, Katja! He was a great guy and I only wish more marketers were as conscientious. I’m going to try to blog something in his memory every week leading up to July 7.Post a Comment
He also would have placed some signiﬁcance to the time you posted—22.22.
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