What Brands Can Learn From The Big Bang Theory?

the big bang

Ester Rabinovici

Every brand began with an idea, in the best of cases an ideal. After many errors and omissions, the ideal proved to be a successful business. Then and only then, it became a brand.


What Brands Can Learn From The Big Bang Theory?

There’s a very definite art and science of branding. That should be welcome news if your brand is facing a challenge. It means that fixing the issue doesn’t require making some entirely new breakthrough discovery. Most likely your problem can be fixed by observing your brand in action, in all of its forms, and viewing those characteristics within the historical context of your brand. In what ways are your current brand-related actions occurring within, or outside of, the laws of your brand universe?

In science (as opposed to the popular TV sit com), the Big Bang Theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the universe. It’s the “go-to” resource that physicists use to see if their new observations and abstract theories are plausible and able to fit within the known laws of physics. Without getting too technical…everything that we know of our universe, when measured to the most precise metrics, traces back to what, in science, is known as a “singularity” or common event that occurred about 13.8 billion years ago — that event is known as the Big Bang. From that singular event, physicists, scientists, and mathematicians have been able to confirm, again and again, a common, consistent relationship between everything in the universe…from how fast our galaxy is expanding to the rate at which the distance between galaxies is increasing, and so forth.

By using this DNA-like genetic code of the universe, scientists can quickly identify the viability of a scientific hypothesis, before wasting time resources and millions of dollars on a hunch.

Similarly, all brands began with a Big Bang. Well, in most cases it was a small, but very important bang. All brands began with an idea that evoked the passion of an entrepreneur and that idea was nurtured to become a business or similar entity. Over time, the entity manifested itself through hundreds and then thousands of physical, sensory and experiential attributes that, in total, became the brand in the minds of its audience.

Science has confirmed that the speed at which our universe is expanding away from the original point of the Big Bang is increasing. That also describes what happens to brands over time. They shoot out in every direction, away from their point of origin into new space and into unknown territory.

Unfortunately, brands aren’t governed by the physical laws of the universe, they’re governed by C-level leaders, CMOs, brand managers, sales teams, and employees in all functions and at all levels within an organization.

Few of these current torchbearers were around for your brand’s big bang and yet, isn’t it amazing that in many cases they are still operating largely within the original intent and with many of the attributes that were there at the start. Isn’t that a testament to the power of branding?

In this context, it’s easy to see how important a brand is in preserving an organization’s heritage, as a company grows and evolves, it creates lasting bonds with generations of employees and customers. The best brands not only generate loyalty, they’re seductive, capable of inspiring a passion that goes beyond logical decision-making to something even more powerful than love…desire! I’m sure each of us could name some of those brands. The ones that cause otherwise rational people to make an exception. Though our lists might be slightly different, they would include many of the same names. One thing’s for sure, virtually all of the elite names we would name practice something that I call Brand Intentionalism, that’s to say there’s a purpose or intent behind every element of their brand. Every new product launch, service offering, and customer program is developed in a very intentional way with a high priority on making sure the new endeavor fits within the laws of the company’s brand universe.

The growth and evolution of any company is a complex balance of innovating and seizing new opportunities, while also preserving and building on the bond that your brand has established with customers and other important constituents.

So, if your organization is experiencing marketplace challenges, now might the perfect time to do an inventory of all current offerings and customer promises across your organization. Has your brand become schizophrenic? Do new and longstanding customers have a common understanding of what to expect from your brand? Are employees on the same page and able to articulate what customers can expect from the relationship? If these questions and their answers give you heartburn, and you find yourself facing something that resembles a complex ball of frayed, intertwined computer wires, it’s probably a good time to simplify.

Time to think back to the time of your company’s big bang…when the laws of your organization’s brand universe were first set in motion…back to when there was an entrepreneur with an idea.

What was his or her purpose? What did customers come to know, trust and expect? And how do all of your current products and initiatives fit within that universe? Are they related in a meaningful way like the sun, planets, and moons of our solar system, or are they cobbled together and more reflective of a clash of meteorite storms? Either way, going through this exercise can mark an important step toward the discipline of Brand Intentionalism that could one day make your brand top of mind when future marketers are asked to cite their most iconic brands. In the meantime, safe travels, earthlings.

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