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Here’s a secret of creating effective brand activation – It begins with an understanding of brand strategy. And using solid strategy to create brand experience starts with defining brand culture.

In the theater, the process of presenting a play best begins with a Director meeting first with a Dramaturg. The Dramaturg brings an understanding of context. The philosophy, the fashion, and the culture of the play’s time and characters. The dramaturg can provide a road map of context… It is this context that makes a play meaningful. That draws us into the story deeply. It creates resonance.

Audiences hunger for connections. And connections are found with identification. “I want to feel like that”. “I like how you think”. “I believe in that”. This is what makes story such a powerful thing that binds us all together.

In brand activations and experiential marketing the equivalent context is found in brand strategy. Brand strategy is derived and defined by many things – Culture, customer, brand voice, brand feeling, and often the “special sauce”. But defining brand strategy and using it to create effective activations starts by defining the culture of the brand.

Brand culture can be defined this way: “How do employees and customers describe a brand”.

Healthy ? Friendly ? Focused on sustainability ? Committed to product design ?

These are key words and phrases that address this question of culture.
These words will change from brand to brand. But in them is the DNA of the brand’s perceived identity. And they become key ingredients in developing good creative for brand activations. It may seem absurdly simple, yet there are many agencies or brands who will skip this understanding or misunderstand it’s value.

How do we find these ingredients ? Through a process of exploration with the client. Almost all companies will have thought a great deal about these pillars of their brand. The effective creative or strategist will first spend time with the client, not guessing, but asking “what is your brand’s culture”.

This process of discovery has to be the place we start in developing creative.

If the brand hasn’t invested in this process before, or perhaps if they are no longer aligned with their original cultural development, the creatives and strategist can use a defined process to tease this out and make it clear.

I will be spotlighting this process here on the blog over the next couple of months – By the end of the journey you will know the tools required.

And then ? With an understanding of a cultural starting point, you can create brand experience that has resonance, and connects deeply with the human attraction to a good story.