The music of brand

I’m an average guitar player. Some might say very average. But I can play in a support role to almost anyone. Why? Because I have enough basic knowledge about music theory that if someone says to me, “We’ll be playing this is in the key of C,” I know that I’ll be safe playing a basic C-F-G (I-IV-V) chord progression. Or if I really want to impress someone I could possibly add the minor 6 (Am) for a C-G-Am-F (I-V-vi-IV) progression. And I can do this same thing in any key.

But of course, none of this makes me a musician. Far from it, I’m just a guy who can get by playing in my neighbor’s backyard with friends. But the cool thing is, it also makes me part of the band whose members are all way better than me. They are the musicians.

They’re musicians because they have gone beyond the basic knowledge of scales and chords – and through effort, sweat, and time, have learned the art of using simple progressions to create unique harmonies and melodies. 10,000 hours, Malcolm Gladwell said.

So what does this have to do with brand and the clients we serve? Well, at Elliance we are the band. We’ve been building brand positions for a long time in a number of different industries – education, finance, manufacturing and others. We bring credibility, expertise, intuition, and time – way more than 10,000 hours – to our client’s problems. And because we’ve got the chops (to stay with the musical vernacular), we know how to turn simple strategies into integrated and harmonic brand platforms.

The coolest thing about working at Elliance is that we invite our clients into our process. At first, they may not always understand the elements we recommend, or why they are structured in a particular manner. But together, we attempt to build a base of communications starting with foundational strategies, messages and visuals (scales and chord progressions), then maybe introduce different ways of delivering the messages (alternate scale patterns, sharps and flats), and eventually tie everything together through tactics can range from web to traditional print to video to social. This is both effective and affective.

For me, great brand communication is like great music – more emotional than technical. It affects you with its melodies, its harmonies, and its beauty. But the emotional must rest upon the effective use of intro, verse, and chorus – that’s what holds everything together. In music and in brand.

No single chord progression ever won a Grammy and no typeface ever won a Clio. But none can doubt their influence on the final product. Just for fun, the simple I-V-vi-IV four-chord progression I referenced above, has been the foundation of more songs over the years from pop to rock to country than you can imagine. Check out the list here.

Learn more about the strong brand positions Elliance has established for organizations and companies around the country through its disciplined, and simple, process in branding services.