Friday, May 30, 2008

Branding inspiration on the streets of San Francisco

OFD believes that inspiration is so important to keeping the color and creativity. In work. In life. Whatever the context or relationship.

But it's also something of a riddle. It is hard to find inspiration by looking for it. It is as if the act of searching itself contributes to its elusive.

The solution of course is NOT to look, and instead focus the mind; create a state of passive alertness so that the sub-conscious picks up and notices the very elements in the surroundings that one cannot find by deliberately searching.

A case in point: The Mechanics Institute. Who would have thought that it would provide such sound advice for an aspiration that many brands would do well to strive for?

The plaque outside the organization's premises on Post Street east of Stockton begins with a simple statement of purpose:

'The diffusion of knowledge at the least possible expense to the seeker'

We live in an age when people value actions from brands over words, utility over endless preaching.

Brands that get it are those that realize there are many facets to this value-minded consumer, including delivering relevant content that's been digested, and framed to be easy to assimilate and delivers real utility to the recipient. Not information, but knowledge.

Think about your brand's website, its retail environment, your marketing communications.

How much work and effort does a prospect have to expend for the privilege of engaging with your brand?

Is 'entertainment value' strategically minded or a tactic that actually distracts from a more pressing need to deliver utility quickly, effectively and colorfully?

The credo of The Mechanics Institutes is good brand advice indeed to keep at hand.

Inspiration found in an unlikely place while not being sought.

And that's kind of the point.

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