Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seeing the world through the filter of branding

Looking into the Western sky this afternoon, I caught sight of a large hawk being harassed by five or six little black birds. The hawk wheeled in wide circles while the tiny annoyances pestered and poked.  

As the hawk moved off, the little birds broke away—satisfied and exhausted—except for one. One little dark speck continued to buzz the hawk, diving from above, nipping from behind—a whirlwind of aggression. The hawk expended no energy in his glide while the little bird attacked, dodged, fluttered and dived. Fierce and alone, the little bird defied death for all below to see. 

The hawk glided away—frustrated but trying to appear nonchalant—and flew farther and farther off. Finally the little bird broke off the attack. He flew over me chipping and cheeping triumphantly and lit atop a pole to rest. 

I ran over and looked up. It was a red-winged blackbird like the one in this picture. He swooped into a stand of thick brush where, no doubt, an appreciative family waited.

Now, why do I describe this spectacle on a website devoted to brand communications? What could such a wild display of individual bravery and stamina possibly have to do with the way today’s marketing executives define and present their brands to the awaiting world? Come to think of it, nothing. In our human business of cautious, collective thinking, no parallel to this singular act of persistence and courage comes to mind.