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Life doesn't come with instructions, but some would say it does when it comes to brand building. Instructions are funny little things, aren't they? It all seems so authoritative until an anomaly reveals itself in the process. Suddenly, everything comes to a grinding halt. "Wait ... what the hell? What do we do now?"

The truth is, even branding rules aren't necessarily 'final.' In fact, they are just the beginning. For this reason, we take branding work with a grain of salt — seriously enough, but never too serious, which can lead to walls. Our methodology with branding work applies several useful disciplines developed by some really smart people. Not our people, nope. Other people — people we've never even met. Guys like Simon Sinek (Start with Why)and Jean-Marie Dru (Disruption Theory) have excellent points, and we've applied their 'mind-tools' to our work and how we approach work for our clients.

This being said, we aren't chumps. We have our own proprietary methods, which have been developed from over twenty years of branding work. Most recent in our epiphany towards branding, is the 'halo' effect. True, that phrase has long existed before... but it was more of a description of what occurs, rather than how to achieve it. Apple computers, for example, struggled for decades trying to capture market share from their archrivals, such as Microsoft, IBM and Dell. Then suddenly, almost overnight, a halo appeared. A dull-glow at first, but within months, that dim glow exploded into a beautiful bright beam of light. Apple's iPod was introduced along with its iMac and the company has never looked back since. The halo didn't come from its long established 'Macintosh' lines. No, in fact, one could argue that the 'Mac' was an anchor to the brand (Apple). The iPod however was new, fresh and most importantly, something the mass consumer could afford to buy and experience first-hand Apple's unique approach to connecting people to technology. Thus, a halo appeared — but it was not intentional. It was a bit of luck and good timing for Apple. Taking Sinek's approach to starting with "why", we asked ourselves "why do halos appear ?", we then proceeded to discover 'how' that might be created and 'what' tangible actions best lead towards creating a halo effect for the brand.

Once we have a good idea on what actions will create the almighty 'halo', we proceed to organize that process under our very own 'brand universe' methodology. The 'brand universe' proceeds to quantify and identify various ecosystems within the brand's universe to keep order. Why is this necessary? Well, as we alluded in the beginning of this article, it's about having a set of guidelines or 'instructions' to manage the brand effectively. The brand universe also includes disciplined processes to planning promotions, pocket activities, long-term event investments, and so on.

So, there you have it. We begin with Sinek's approach to starting with the "WHY", move towards identifying creative disruption and focused messaging using Dru's disruptive theory, use those principles to develop steps towards building a 'halo' for the brand — and once all that work has been satisfactorily completed, we manage and proceed with the actual tasks under the rules of the brand universe methodology. Simple, right? It is on paper. Always is. Reality, however is always more difficult and it takes seasoned practitioners of our craft to put all of this together. In the end, we take on the task to get your brand to a manageable ecosystem under the brand universe method — and you (our client) proceed in doing what they want to do most, engage with customers and build relationships that lead to halos.

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