Magazine article Marketing

Helen Edwards on Branding: Take Up the Baton, Maestro

Magazine article Marketing

Helen Edwards on Branding: Take Up the Baton, Maestro

Article excerpt

A brand needs a conductor who can harmonise the marketing disciplines to form a winning team.

You're a marketer, it's the dead of night and you're having this extraordinary dream. There's an orchestra, professional, purposeful, midway through a gloriously rhapsodic piece. The faces in the ensemble are recognisable to you - not because they are famous, but because they're all people in your various marketing services agencies.

The big violin section is the advertising agency, its mellifluous evocation of the high strains of your brand essence soaring with haunting intensity. What's more - this is a dream, remember - each member of that section is in perfect synchronisation with the next, playing together in seamless unity, not one of them having missed a single rehearsal.

There, in the wind section, are the twittering flutes and warbling oboes of your social media agency, giving the brand theme flight, pinging tiny echoes off the auditorium roof.

The brass of PR introduces variations on the theme, elegantly worked and timed to bring fresh colour to the unfolding performance.

Who's that on bassoon? It's your pack designer, pointedly underscoring the central motif. There - isn't that the media planning team, mastering the complex syncopations of the percussion line? Your digital expert is confined to the triangle for some reason, but in the dream that makes perfect sense.

The music. It is rapturous - a creamy, nuanced rendition of the brand key you scored yourself, with a little help in arrangement from your brand consultants. This wonderfully endowed orchestra has taken it to new heights - shimmering, expansive, perfectly balanced and fused.

You are drawn irresistibly closer to a figure at the front, facing the musicians, arms moving in urgent authority. This imposing presence, this maestro upon whom all eyes are trained, this conductor of talents .. it's you.

Then you wake up. Why do dreams always do that just when you're getting to the really good bit? What dawns on you then, as your eyes blink in the early morning light, is that later today you really will sit facing the assembled talents of your marketing services agencies, in one of your regular sessions on the brand.

What it won't feel, though, is orchestrated. The ad agency will not all pull seamlessly together and will field a vociferous junior planner who has not attended any previous rehearsals - sorry, meetings - or read the research.

There will be jostling for who is the guardian of the brand, as though that should be anyone but you. …

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