Capturing the simple brand idea

Simple ideas are powerful. They immediately connect with us because of the clarity that accompanies them. Most often they capture a truth that is undeniably compelling. And as a result, are exceptionally motivating.

Walt Disney summed up the magic of his brand with, “If you dream it, you can do it.”

This powerful simplicity can be game changing for a brand. Because when we capture a simple brand idea, we can foster that clarity and motivation.

As awesome as that sounds, there is a caveat. As Chip and Dan Heath tell us in their book Made To Stick, “Coming up with a short compact phrase is easy. Anybody can do it. On the other hand, coming up with a profound compact phrase is incredibly difficult.”

In other words, capturing a simple brand idea is anything but simple.


What makes a simple brand idea great?

Simple brand ideas are powerful because they have a truth at their core. This truth reflects a desire or aspiration that is dear to us. The most potent of these connect to the fundamental need we all have to make a difference. Whether that is to make a difference in another's life or to even make a difference in our world.

Finding the authentic connection of our brand to this fundamental need is where we find the makings of a simple brand idea that has that game-changing power.

Where do we start?

At the core of every organization and brand is a belief. It may be buried. It may have been lost. But it is there. It is the reason that the organization or the brand exists. It goes beyond the rational or functional reasons for why we do what we do and taps into the difference that we could make in the world around us. This is called the Big Audacious Meaning.

Our Big Audacious Meaning lies at the intersection of three questions. First, what are you best at? Second, what are you passionate about? And third, what difference do you hope to make in the world?

These three questions are potent. They force us to leave out what is distracting and to focus on the interplay between these most fundamental of questions.

When we find the intersection of those three questions, we discover an inspiration for that simple idea. We begin to ask, “How do I embody our Big Audacious Meaning with what I’m trying to create?”

When we get to that point, the extraneous stuff falls away. The meaningful rises up. And we find ourselves capable of capturing that elusive few words that will clarify, captivate, and motivate those we hope to serve.