Written by: Drew Force | Force Brand Design It may help to know that my mom doesn’t really know what I do. Last fall I was making the 50 minute drive to the North American HQ of adidas to present my final shared positioning deck to my contacts on the NCAA team. I’d spent time over the previous three months on the campus of the University of Washington. I had met and interviewed coaches, student athletes, alumni, donors, educators and athletic department staff. I gathered data from some 4,000 people who follow the Huskies. My role was to listen and learn. Compile information, seek relevance and identify shared values. My goal was to define and articulate the overlap between the two powerhouse brands so they could charge forward in their new relationship, together. Here I was making the drive to share my distillation of all that I had learned. Frequently, I call my mom on this drive to simply catch up. She asked where I was going so I told her. She thought it was a 'really big, important presentation,' which, it was. Then she asked if I was nervous. My immediate vocal response was “no”.
Then I thought to myself should I be???She asked why I wasn’t. “You’re about to present all of your ideas,” she said. My response basically shut down the conversation. I told her “these aren’t my ideas. It's the truth.” The beauty of really good marketing and brand work is that it reveals truth. Plain and simple. I distill what I learn to clearly articulate the qualities of a brand—or in this case, the shared qualities of two brands. Yes, it takes skill, perspective and lots of practice to do this well, but ultimately, my mama told me to tell the truth and (for the most part) I listen to my mother. More marketers, and brands, should do the same. Related: Seeing People as Humans, Rather Than a Client