For a couple of decades now, I have used the brand-as-person model when working with clients, to help them get to grips with the intangible issues of brand and corporate personality. We all saw the recent findings from Interbrand, that people like brands the way they like friends – nothing surprising there. But perhaps a more accessible way of approaching it is to think of casting your brand’s movie.
The great advantage this approach has is that it makes you think of your brand’s story – you can look at it as a narrative of screenplay. Every story must have a hero or heroine – your brand. Who would you cast? Then think about what qualities that actor would bring to the role – the qualities and values you would want for your brand. Robert DeNiro would bring very different qualities to Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry or Kenneth Branagh. So what are those values and why are they important to the brand?
Let’s go a stage further: now you have your hero – what about the rest of the cast? We usually have a villain in our brand story who would play them? What qualities would they bring and what competitive advantages does your hero have?
This approach is also useful get a snapshot of how your brand is viewed internally. Asking colleagues or staff to identify brand strengths and weaknesses is rarely productive. They may have an agenda, but there will certainly be demand characteristics in the question and the questioner. Asking others in the organisation to cast the role of the brand in a movie is much more innocent and less demanding. But it can also be very illuminating.