15 Days of Secrets Signs & Symbols of Success. 2 The story exists in minds of customers—not sellers

The focus of the location of the story must remain with the public, not the brand owners. This reflects that while brand owners may have a vested interest in a particular outcome, or specific aspect of the story, the actual story that the public holds in its collective mind is the story that matters.

It seems obvious. The results produced by a play are judged by the audience, not the players, the playwright, the producer, the director or the decorator. So it is with brands. Whatever story your group thinks you are presenting is irrelevant to your audience, customers. The only story that matters to customers is the story they tell themselves.

This means, among things, that it is doubly important to be clear on what your story is, especially internally, so that all individuals, departments and divisions can deploy consistently across all channels. This is one more reason favoring stories, as they are archetypally memorable and therefore easy to calibrate across spectra—especially important in today’s multimedia universe.

Knowing your brand’s story in a short, snappy way unifies workforces, ties communications together and brings about harmony, quickly.

If you have ever been caught out with one person’s understanding or assumption of your motive or actions not as you intended; then you know how important it is to be clearly understood. That is why brands can hardly overcommunicate once they are aligned. Only when falling from alignment or wobbling, like a spinning apple would does communication falter. This is because of fundamental misalignment with the underlying story, which as we said, yet bears repeating, exists primarily in the minds of your customer, not you, Mr./Ms. Brand Owner. That means, for shareholders of large household brand names, as you press brands out of integrity by putting short term profits ahead of viable brand equity; you squeeze opportunity from the long game, because someone else will pick up the torch in the gap left by the household brand name in its rush for short sales. This is what has been happening on a modest scale for a number of years, and has created both a proliferation and a concentration of brands, especially in media.

You do not have to be a newbie to make the mistake of believing what your business plan says is what truly is. Companies as large as Coca-Cola have made this a billion-dollar mistake, from time to time. The best way to find out what your story is to ask your customers what they think or feel.

You know how riding a bicycle seems so easy, once you’ve done it, but learning involves a lot of wobbly moments, and frequently more than a few scraped knees? Learning and understanding how branding really works is a bit like that. Once you can clearly see how brands and branding work, your vision of the world will never be the same again. And just like riding a bicycle, once you learn how; you will never forget!


The dynamic architecture that is architectonics first helped detect all seven of the fundamental brand types, described in The Matriarchy of Brands. Meanwhile, there is a seven-point outline of applying the architecture, that we call the Seven Secrets to Branding Anything:

7 Secrets to Branding Anything

1.     A brand is a story. Period.

2.     The story exists in minds of customers
not managers.

3.     You didn’t invent the story
& neither did your customers!

4.     Stick to the story.
“That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”

Subscribe to this blog to get all seven secrets in the fifteen days of secrets, here at 7secretstobranding.

The second edition of my Branding Manual, Signs & Symbols of Success, is now available! The ideal classroom compendium and lecture starting point reveals the startling matrix behind brands that work. This book levels the playing field by spelling out for the first time the previously unwritten, unbiased code of conduct for all successful global brands. Order YOUR Copy of this Indispensable Reference, including The Matriarchy of Brands, today!

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