Are you familiar with the ancient Indian parable about the blind men and the elephant? Basically, a group of sightless men with no previous Pachydermic experience take turns describing what an elephant looks like when one visits their village for the first time.
It doesn’t go well and the scene soon morphs into the origin story for mansplaining. Turns out, touching part of an elephant—its ivory tusk, its snake-like trunk, its rope-like tail, its fan-like ear or its tree-like leg—doesn’t give you an accurate picture of the complete animal.
For thousands of years, variations on this story have been used by the great religions, poets and philosophers to illustrate humankind’s subjective relationship with reality, God, and the Universe, but lately it makes me think about how I see people relating to their own brands.
Like an elephant, a brand has lots of different parts. And, like the blind men, most of us only think about the part we’re touching at the time—its content strategy, its identity design, its visual storytelling, its online presence, or its use of social media—and not the complete animal.
My most important job as a Brand Advisor is to remind you that it’s all the same brand, just like it’s all the same elephant. Each piece of your brand is as important as the next, but it only makes sense in the context of the whole.
We’re often too close to our own brands to see them for what they are, but if we stop for a moment and take a few steps back, the bigger picture starts to come into focus.