EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Staff Reporter, Australia

What's the story, branding glory?

Authored by Tony Ibbotson, Creative Director of The Creative Method.

The modern word ‘Brand’ is derrived from the word ‘Brandr’, a word from the ancient Norse meaning “to burn”. Around 950 A.D. a ‘Brand’ referred to a burning piece of wood. By the 1500s the meaning had evolved to refer to a mark lovingly burnt onto the backsides of cattle to show ownership. If we are going to go back even further it’s realistic to think that the first evidence of branding was before the Norse folk started burning and probably began around a fire telling stories.

Many moons later the basic principles still apply. Great brands of today are still built on great stories. Being social creatures we love a good yarn - it creates emotional connection, warmth, trust and, most importantly, authenticity.

For most of the projects we are involved with, the brief is to build a brand from scratch, which usually involves naming. Naming is bloody hard - it's so subjective. It is one of the big reasons that most people find it hard to name their children and usually don’t unveil the name until the child is present to give it context - at the very least your friends are less likely to tell you they don’t like the name when your new born dribbling pile of mashed vegetables is present. Children's names without a personality to back them up have baggage. The same goes for naming companies.

A good name starts with a good story. Many people we see don’t believe they have a story but it’s simply a case of asking the right questions.

We start our process by asking the same questions and a lot of them. Who are you? What do you do or deliver that no one else does? How do you do it better? (And we are not talking about using the freshest ingredients as everyone says that!) What makes you better than the rest? Where does your passion for food come from? How do you create or cook your product? Anything different or unique? What are you the first at, the best at, or the only ones to do? What do you want your customers to tell their friends about your offer?

Steven Marks from Guzman Y Gomez had fond memories of sharing Mexican food with childhood friends whose surnames inspired the now famous Australian taqueria chain. Forget the fact that most people can’t pronounce it; forget the fact that Guzman and Gomez have now grown up might be in prison. This is Australia. If people love you they will simply give you a nickname - welcome GYG!

It is amazing what truly unique and inspirational stories people have when you ask the right questions. It may not mean that your brand directly or literally reflects the story but it gives us a unique platform to create from and start to build something unique and memorable.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by QSR Media. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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