Character: We develop Characters and Story Frameworks for brands.
A couple of months ago, we were preparing for Character Camp on
one of the world's most visible brands. One of the executives
responsible for briefing us summarized the problem in a very
interesting way. He said, "The situation here is that for five
years the business has been doing better than the brand."

Over the preceding five years the company had cleaned up it
operations, strengthened its product offerings and significantly
improved its advertising. These efforts were driving traffic and
growing revenue, but they were not building the kind of
relationship between the brand and its audience that feels
authentic and generates loyalty. In the absence of such a
relationship, business success seems fragile.

People frequently ask me how to know when it's time to bring a
brand to Character Camp. I think that answering this question--is
your business doing better than your brand?--might provide
helpful insights. If the business is doing well, then presumably
you have the competitive situation figured out (the war metaphor
). And you probably also have good insight into your consumer
(the science metaphor). But unless you have also looked at your
brand through the lens of story, it is difficult to make
progress in building the kind relationship that lowers your
selling costs and raises your pricing leverage in a sustainable

This is, of course, just a theory. It would be really helpful to
know if it rings true for you with regard to a brand that you
are currently responsible for or one that you have managed in
the past.

I would love to hear what you think.