On Cats, Dogs and Other Creatures…
Inspiration and ideas often come from the least expected places. Take for example one of our favourite books, the “The Complete Dog Book” from the American Kennel Club. We found it in the stacks of eclectic second-hand gems at Strand Books in New York.
As you will have guessed from the title, this magnum opus tells you everything you ever wanted to know, and then some, about Portuguese Water Dogs, Whippets, Salukis, Chow Chows, Malamutes, and hundreds of other odd canine creatures. Remember that mop-like beast jumping over a hurdle on the cover of Odelay, the classic Beck album? That, as it turns out, is a Komondor, a Hungarian breed noted for its intelligence, courage and mighty bearing. You’ll find him in the book under working dogs.
We were once asked to conduct a workshop on branding for small businesses, something that, to be honest, doesn’t come naturally to us. Call us brand sceptics: Venn diagrams send a chill down our spine, so too the jargon-filled, muddled concepts of many corporate brand gurus. They’re bad enough for big business, even worse, we thought, when sold as a magic elixir to the world of smaller business. So, we called on the dogs to help us explain why.
Perhaps this is overly simplistic or even just a case of semantics – but let’s face it language is important and how we package ideas often determines their impact. The artificial language of branding often comes at the expense of creativity, the negation of authentic personality in the face of abstract concepts and rigid frameworks. What most small businesses have working for them is a personality, an individual story that hasn’t yet been homogenized by the branding cookie-cutter. One good story, we feel, is worth a thousand mission statements.