I overheard a conversation between two complete strangers the other day that perfectly illustrated to me the power brands have to connect us.
Two guys were waiting in line behind me. One commented on the other’s bicycle, a Dawes Galaxy, and a conversation ensued about bikes and the former’s Pashley bicycle. I know cyclists can be a friendly bunch when engaged on their subject, but here was an interaction between two people, unknown to each other before that moment, that was initiated by brand recognition.
Each individual had an experience of the brands concerned that they were able to share. They instantly knew something of each other through their brand association, which gave them a shared interest that prompted an interaction which enriched their lives.
The term ‘Brand’ is often misunderstood, but here was an example of what I perceive a brand to be. A brand is created through the experience of a product or a service. It exists in the mind of the user. It’s their perception of the product or service, of how it makes them feel when they remember their experience of it. It was the recognition of the brand identity, the visual embodiment of the brand, that initiated the conversation. It was a sign post, but the conversation wasn’t about a logo, or a typeface. It was about memories of bikes; the places seen; friendships made; journeys taken that all informed the perception of these brands and the common ground they found and the personal interaction they both enjoyed.
I see our role as creators of moments that brands share with their consumers and which these consumers can then share with each other. The replication and consistency of these experiences across all activities strengthen the brand and allow it to grow. The result being the creation of opportunities for us all to enjoy unscripted interactions as the two cyclists waiting for a coffee.