How To Create A Brand Mythology

With guest speaker Peter Spear

Myths may seem like undecodable magic, but like Air Jordans and Barbie Dolls, what looks like an enigma on the surface is actually a formula underneath. 

Brand mythologies operate on a whole different level than other branding models, and I have personally never seen an approach that more than scratches the surface of this elusive holy grail.

That is why I am so excited to share our first ever Talks at Concept Bureau with you, a regular video series where we bring in the people that inspire us from all over the spectrum of expertise, and have them teach us something new that we can apply to brand strategy.

Our first talk is on "How To Create A Brand Mythology" by Peter Spear, an incredible ethnographer and brand consultant who gives us a real approach to creating a myth around your brand. 

Myths, like brands, perform 4 functions: the mystical, the cosmological, the sociological and the psychological. Each one of these functions creates context for understanding the world, and when done right, they create the world’s most significant names.

In this talk, Peter shows us how companies like Pinterest, Axe Body Spray and even Bitcoin all filled these functions, and were then able to take on mythical proportions as brands.

To get the inputs you need for brand mythology, Peter proposes Brand Listeninghis extremely active and open form of qualitative research that anyone at any company can start doing right now. 

It’s based on a few core principles, including the fact that we think in images, that people have experiences not answers, and that awkwardness is a beautiful way of opening people up. 

This is a talk about both seeing and listening to your audience in a new way so that the mythology of your brand can do what myths are meant to do: give your people a sense of meaning and purpose.

I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think.

Work Your Magic

Here's what we've been consuming.

The Future Is Going to Be Weird. Are We Ready? (The New York Times): "It’s so clear that we are not just predicting, that we’re not just looping, that there is a space of novelty and of potential creativity [...] And so I’ve been thinking, why are we so scared of giving up the term intelligent? Why are we so afraid that something else might get called intelligent? And I think it has to do with how much we have made that the dominant way we value humanity, particularly in a secular dimension [...] There is something about how much we have dehumanized ourselves that I think is getting laid very bare in A.I. discourse.”

Knockoffs (Articles of Interest Episode #8): “The point isn’t to make money, the point is to build up a brand and an identity that then will sell the things that do make money, which are usually accessories that are relatively cheap. [...] It’s about the performance of a brand, the creation of a story. Because for the right name, the right symbol, we will buy something, not in spite of its price, but because of it.”

Rational Magic (The New Atlantis): “You might call it the postrationalist turn: a cultural shift in both relatively “normie” and hyper-weird online spaces. Whether you call it spiritual hunger, reactionary atavism, or postliberal epistemology, more and more young, intellectually inclined, and politically heterodox thinkers (and would-be thinkers) are showing disillusionment with the contemporary faith in technocracy and personal autonomy. They see this combination as having contributed to the fundamentally alienating character of modern Western life.”

How to Be More Creative (The Atlantic): “Though we tend to think our ability to come up with ideas is easily exhausted, we actually get more creative the longer we focus on a problem or task. One major reason for this is known as the ‘serial-order effect.’ Each successive creative idea we have is likely to be better than the one that came before.”

I’m a Couples Therapist. Something New Is Happening in Relationships. (The New York Times): "I’ve been working as a psychologist seeing individuals and couples since the mid-1990s, and in the past eight years, I’ve witnessed a tremendous change in the kinds of conversations couples can have. Not long ago, if I would ask a couple about the ways class or race played out between them, I’d typically be met with an awkward shrug and a change of topic. But recent events have reshaped the national conversation on power, privilege, gender norms, whiteness and systemic racism. Together these ideas have pushed us to think, talk, argue and become aware of the many implicit biases we all carry about our identities, unconscious assumptions that privilege some and inflict harm on others."

No Pain, No Gain

Quick hits of insight in socially acceptable places.

People Who Need People

Creative inspirations for the other side of your brain.

Come Say Hi

I want to meet you.

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Jasmine Bina
Founder & CEO
Concept Bureau, Inc.