I was watching one of those mind-blowing shows called ‘Inside the Milkyway’ on the National Geographic channel the other evening and it occurred to me how I could relate one of the weirdest concepts in astronomy to the concept of BRAND. For those entrepreneurs who tend to put branding into the same bucket as marketing – mostly because you’re not sure where else it goes, and that it is ‘close enough’; here is a short analogy of a different way to think about how ‘brand-ing’ is actually a separate function from marketing. And, of course, why knowing the difference can create a ‘super-nova’ in your mind about how you grow your business!
The theorists featured in this Milkyway special referred to Dark Matter as ‘the unseen glue that holds the universe together.’ That’s the moment I connected it to be a perfect analogy of ‘brand.’
As entrepreneurs, your brand is the most important and powerful force in your business galaxy, because it actually IS your business. Think about it being the ‘glue that holds your business together in its whole way of being.’ When you can accept the definition that a ‘brand’ is a perception that lives in the minds of your market; then you have to accept that in every facet of your business there is opportunity to create or reinforce a specific perception. So ‘brand’ lives in every crevice, every nook, every cranny of your business – it is unseen and intangible, but rather ‘experienced’ by your employees and customers.
Wikipedia states: Dark matter was postulated by Fritz Zwicky in 1934 to account for evidence of “missing mass” (invisible) in the orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters. Dark matter plays a central role in state-of-the-art modeling of structure formation and galaxy evolution.
Dark matter is unseen or transparent in its make up within galaxies. Just like a brand, as a perception, is not a tangible ‘thing’ but exists to envelop a business’ every action and behavior. It is the underlying essence that glues together the brand’s way of being. And as Wikipedia states above – brand (like dark matter) plays a central role in state-of-the-art modeling of structure formation of your business. Your company’s dark matter exists within your systems and processes, your behaviors (collectively), your speak, and the overall ‘air of experience’ you deliver through every interaction, every day. Good, bad or indifferent, the brand (perception) is gleaned by and stored in the experience of the employees, the customers, and vendors who associate and transact with it.
So, when you think of the dark matter within your business – is it helping to create amazingly beautiful bursts of colorful nebulas that attract and retain other similar cosmos structures (clients) or is your dark matter promoting a deep, dark mysterious black hole environment that sucks the life out of its ‘markets’ never to be seen again? Hmmmm.
You can take control of how your dark matter affects your business. It might take a pretty powerful microscope to uncover what it is currently manifesting, but well worth the effort to uncover the ever-revealing DNA make-up that guides how the business is affected, represented, and ultimately perceived by all stakeholders. Once your brand’s DNA is uncovered you can begin the process of refinement and enhancement to further the desired evolution. Just because you cannot see it….doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in the minds of your stakeholders. Your brand (dark matter) truly IS your business.
Suzanne Tulien is Principal + Founder of the Brand Ascension Group, LLC. She is a brand perception expert consultant, award-winning graphic designer, a certified trainer and certified in Accelerated Learning Methodologies. She is co-pioneer of the Brand DNA methodology, the first ever step-by-step brand defining online process designed specifically for small to medium sized businesses. She is author of The 6 Myths of Small Business Branding, and co-author of Brand DNA. She is an Expert Panel Member for YoungEntrepreneur.com, and regularly writes blogs and articles on the process of brand definition and implementation, published in eHotelier, BrandChannel.com, Innova, among others. www.BrandAscension.com, 719.660.2533.