provenance in brand planning

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In my pre-career as a brand planner I met with then head of NY planning at BBH, Paul Matheson. BBH was on a side street in Chelsea, in a little commercial walk up, trying to find its footing in NY. As someone with little formal brand strategy training, apparently I did a rather good job of talking trade craft.  I recall Mr. Matheson saying of the 7 or so critical factors in a BBH brand strategy I mentioned 6.  Most people got 3, he offered.  Culture everyone missed, but not I — with an Anthroplogy background.

Today I’m thinking of revisiting my critical factors and adding a new one: Provenance.

A neat word provenance. It means where something comes from. Coors beer comes from the Rockies, brewed with Rocky Mountain water. Farm to table restaurant brands rely on provenance. Maine lobsters. Muscle Shoals musicians. That kind of thing. Understanding where brands physically come from is important. The people that make the brands. The materials. The design intent — Greene and Greene furniture, for instance. Endemic brand qualities are embedded in where and why products and services are made. Is an Austin app different from a Stanford app?

As my Norwegian aunt would say “Tink about it.” Think about provenance.



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