There's a line in Fantastic Mr Fox by Wes Anderson where Mr Fox, played by George Clooney's voice says "You gotta have a 'thing'." He then does his little whistle and clicks his fingers. Seems Mr Anderson has a 'thing' (setting aside other aspects of his peculiar vision) - he has a penchant for framing his action with a strong central line. Ironic, given his eccentricity. Julius Shulman, the visionary architectural photographer expounds the merit of this too in the documentary film Visual Acoustics.
Maybe this is something to think about in marketing and all of the dark arts that surround it? What is the central proposition? - the thing you come home to that all of your efforts revolve around. I know it has been described in other terms elsewhere - for a time Unique Selling Proposition (USP) was all the rage. The problem now is that not everything is about selling. When it is - people just aren't buying it. Brands are getting involved in all kinds of activities that have little - or nothing to do with conventions that were born out of the media economics of television (TV was a great way of reaching and hypnotising large populations simultaneously - but it was monumentally expensive and could only be in short formats that interrupted the content for as little time as the viewer would tolerate - so condensing and synthesising the message down to something catchy that could be repeated frequently not only made sense, but was essential. On TV it still is.)
With an explosion of channels and outlets from street art to your own web based channel it means that you can experiment with all kinds of ideas and executional styles and stories. This idea horrifies classically trained designers who have suckled on the teet of uniformity and order, a throw-back from the modernists who escaped from Hitler's Germany. But you can take the mensch out of Munich…there is a kind of brutal authoritariansim in Bauhaus inspired design. Brand guidelines expect you to tow the party line. Order and conformity in a chaotic media world means you might miss the opportunity to experiment and explore…'The only people who have to be consistent are liars'.
But your material should always be in the service of your central proposition. You need to know who you are and what you are about. That is the thing that will make your brand coherent to your constituents - who might be quite a diverse lot these days. Wes Anderson's films are all different, but they are discernibly Wes Anderson films - whether they are live action, set 20,000 leagues under the sea ( The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) or stop motion animation set under a tree in a field (Fantastic Mr Fox).
You got to have a thing. What's yours?
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.