Since I had my eureka moment a few days ago, I’ve had a few days to let the impact of it set in. I keep coming back to feeling that I’ve stumbled onto something big. Let me bring you back up to speed.
A few days ago Tom Asacker at “A Clear Eye”:http://www.acleareye.com/ defined _brand_ as
bq. …the expectation of someone or something delivering a certain feeling by way of an experience.
The key word here is *expectation*. An expectation is the projection of emotion and thought into the future. This emotion and thought comes from our experiences in the past. I can’t have an expectation of something if I have no knowledge of it, right? Where is this knowledge stored? In my memory. This is important.
According to Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee in their book “On Intelligence”:http://www.onintelligence.org/, we are smart because we build models of events and experiences in our memory. These models contain everything we know about the event/experience, including the steps we took to get there, the feeling we had once there, and the actions that came after it. We compare incoming stimuli from all our senses against the models, and when we get a match, we follow or mold the model’s instructions to suit the present situation. There’s a lot of science behind this that I may get into later.
The *A Ha!* came when I realized that a brand is a memory model for a _thing_.
This has a huge impact, at least for me. It allows me to easily grasp what can be a very slippery topic. It gives me something physical that I can picture and describe. It gives me a specific target to aim for in the work I do for my client. It gives me a tool to visually communicate a fuzzy concept to a team and to my clients. What’s more, it shows my client how I can be of greater service to him by helping to design the entire memory model.
This takes me out of my traditional narrow designer’s role and puts me in a place where I can have a wider impact on his business practice. This is a very good thing. The skills I’ve learned as a designer apply to designing the whole memory model. I’ll get into that in more detail in upcoming articles.
I’m going to be exploring this in a fair bit of detail in the next couple of days. I’m going to work through the process of building and visualizing a brand’s mental model. The goal here is to come up with something useful that we can all use in our day to day working lives. If you have something to contribute, please use the comments, or send me an email to peter at flashlightdesign dot com