the fishbowl


We all work in a fishbowl.

I was thinking about how my favorite brands are marketed from the inside out.  There’s a philosophy at the core that becomes ultimately reflected through everything they do.  These brands view everything as marketing and everyone in the company as working in marketing (even if they work in the mailroom).  When consumers poke and prod, it all hangs together consistently.

If you visit Fruit Towers (the headquarters for innocent), which they invite you to do on every bottle, it feels exactly as you’d expect from them.  And everyone you meet seems like a voice of the brand.

This is different from historic branding and marketing, where a brand persona is concocted for a 30-second spot, often by an ad agency.  Or a brand architecture is written to be shared with other marketers and marketing agencies only.

When I worked on Green Giant years ago, I stumbled across a thought piece that someone from Leo Burnett had written back in the 60’s on the mythology of the Green Giant.  It was fascinating, with lots of intriguing stuff about how the Green Giant was related to the old pagan gods, etc.

No wonder these ads were so meaningful to consumers in a world of 30 second spots.  And most American consumers over the age of 50 can finish the theme song, "up in the valley of the Green Giant…"

In today’s hyper-connected world, consumers choose how they interact with your brand, not the other way around.  And they’re more apt to look through or around the brand "persona" to the real deal.  And then share what they find with others in blogs or other social media.  We’re all in a fishbowl now, and we’re all held up to a different standard.

Which is why it’s important to think of everyone in the company as working in marketing.  And to be authentic about it.  How refreshing if a brand architecture were written not just to be shared with other marketers and marketing agencies, but with the whole company.  It would cut out all the incomprehensible lingo and make it easy to understand for everyone.  So that everyone can be a voice of the brand.

Not just the one guy in the equity costume.

  1. says

    For authentic companies the brand architecture is not different from the company values, mission, vision, promise, etc. Should you let an outside consultant or an advertising agency create those for your company? Maybe, but you might be already screwed if you have to…

  2. Ken Davidson says

    Good point, Tom, although I wonder what it means for people who don’t work at a company that, although perhaps successful, doesn’t have a clear “mission” in the world. E.g. could everyone in a commodity business like Green Giant really be an “embodiment of the brand”? I suspect most brands fall into this category, rather than the innocent/Apple/Googles of the world.

  3. says

    Love this Tom. In reply to Ken, sure they can! Every company should have clear objectives, and be clear about the promises their brand (consumer or otherwise) makes to all its audiences. Forget making consumers trust you, start with making sure those inside the fish bowl buy it!

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