Imagine two villages separated by a wide and fast flowing river. One of the villages decides that need to build a bridge across to the other side. They start the long process of collecting all the money needed.

Soon they realise that they aren’t going to collect enough money and begin to ask why they  are building a bridge anyway. After a lot of thought and discussion they decide that it was to get to the other side. But bridges aren’t the only way to cross a river. So they start building a boat.

But the boat sinks on its first journey across the water. Clearly, the boat is too dangerous. So they question themselves again. What was the purpose of the boat? They realise that they just need to deliver a message. Maybe they only need a carrier pigeon, but they take a long time to train. So is there another way? What message do they need to send?

They realise that the most important thing is to warn the other village in case of a Viking attack. And the quickest way to get that message across is lighting a signal fire. So they started collecting the wood.

Until they asked “but why?” They were spending all their money and time on building a bridge when all they really needed was a bonfire.

Too often in marketing we get bogged down in the tactical. We can start to focus on the minutiae of our everyday worlds and forget our overall strategy. Leaders will say “build some bridges” when they really mean “warn your neighbours against Viking attacks more info here.”

This is why it’s important to know your brand’s purpose – to make sure that everyone, especially in marketing, understands what your company is trying to do. Because you don’t want to spend your time and money building bridges when you should be building bonfires.

Published by Ben Melton

Brand manager. Explorer. Pizza eater.

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