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Skill Level Intermediate
(gentle music) - Think about brands and the craft of branding. When we talk about branding, we like to talk about three things. We like to talk about art, and we like to talk about science, and we like to talk about experience. And when you put all those three together, you get craftsmanship. So you can think about any craft that you want to think about. In every craft is a blend of those three things. And I'd say a couple of things about this. The first is that in branding, there's been a long debate between art and science, some of that's temporal. So if you went back to the origin of brand management you'd figure out that art was in the ascendancy because there actually wasn't a lot of data. And without a lot of data, it was hard to do science. There was a period of time when science was ascended. When we decided that we could figure out how to craft a brand by understanding the consumer as deeply as humanly possible and that actually art was a distraction. What I think both of those perspectives ignore is two things. The first is that both art and science are necessary to build a brand. If you're an artist and you don't have an appreciation of what the consumer actually wants, you have a tendency to design something that you love and they don't. If you're a scientist and you don't have an appreciation for the art of branding you tend to design something that is technically aligned and devoid of inspiration. But the blend of art and science isn't enough, what's actually required in addition to that is experience. Because one of the things you figure out over time is that very few artists or scientists are young. There are very few great artists and scientists who pick up a pen, pick up a paintbrush or run their first analytical model and are brilliant on day one. Why is that? Because experience matters in both disciplines. (gentle music) One of the mistakes that companies make is they have not figured out how to bring experience to the blend of art and science. So what does that mean in practical terms? In practical terms, if you're a brand manager in a typical brand management company you change jobs every two to three years. And so every two to three years you've got to learn a whole new brand a whole new set of consumers and you've got to develop your art around that. There are examples of artists and scientists who are multidisciplinary and brilliant in all disciplines, but there are relatively few. And yet that's what organizations ask their brand people to do. They say, okay you're a great painter, that's fine. Now, I'd like you to see you be a great sculptor. Okay well, you're a great physicist, how about being a great biologist? If you think about that, that's a very, very difficult ask. (gentle music) The second thing you see companies do often, in addition to this notion of not valuing experiences, you see them create a world that says, well if branding is a blend of art and science, then what I need is ambidexterity. I need the great artists, great scientist type. Turns out that model isn't scalable. There just aren't that many people who are simultaneously great artists and great scientists for you to say, I'm going to build my organizational model around having enough people who are great artists and great scientists and making that work. Great art and great science really aren't in conflict. They really are reinforcing. When you see a great market researcher and a great brand artist work together, there's enormous synergy between them. The disciplines that they bring are fundamentally reinforcing. And so what organizations need to learn how to do is build the experience base of their artists and their scientists and give them enough time together so that they come to see the synergy so that they don't feel like they have to be butting heads, but they actually feel like it's a mutually reinforced process. (gentle music) One of the challenges that you'll face as you try to build your brand organization is actually building the experience base of your best brand people, whether they be artists or scientists. And one of the challenges that you'll face in doing that is that for most of you, your reward and incentive system basically says, I'm going to take my best artists and my best scientists and I'm going to make them managers, because in order to pay them what you think you need to pay them, in order to keep them, you have to promote them. But once you promote them you're promoting them to a managerial position. And so actually one of the secrets of building a great brand organization and an organization that can actually leverage experience and take experience and help it build the craft of branding is you have to consider your incentive and reward structure. You actually have to design an incentive and reward structure that allows the individual brander, whether they be an artist or a scientist, to be adequately rewarded and stay in the place where they can add the most value to the business. So as a consultant for 20 years one of the saddest things you see is people who are being promoted out of a job that they are outstanding at and into a job that they're not very good at, because it's a fundamentally different job. If I'm the brand steward for Cascade and I'm really great at that, the next job I usually get is either an entirely different brand, or worse yet, I become the category manager of a bunch of brands, but to be the manager of a bunch of brand stewards is not the same thing as being a brand steward. And what I would argue for most companies is your scarcest resource are great brand stewards, and you have to figure out how to create an organizational model that allows you to keep those people, reward those people, inspire those people without promoting them. (gentle music)