Meaningful differentiation through design. Specialising in brand purpose, name and identity design.
Of gods and monsters
Branding is the use of symbols to signal a value proposition. This is due to how organisms engage with reality. We build subjective representations of the world, which are coloured by how we feel and the metaphors provided to us.
Contrary to our experience of a thing, people do not interact directly with any product or service. Instead we engage with solely mental representations. Branding is the management of these mental constructs. It is a management of mind.
Eglinski is a team of multidisciplinary strategists and designers that use story, myth, and aesthetic to develop deep but practical brand strategies. Story, because it is how humans evolved to understand the world and their place in it. Myth, the shared colloquial beliefs about why the world behaves the way it does (the sun rises rather than rotates around a star, or that we can directly experience “reality”). And aesthetic, the language of feeling—the predicate to all human thought and that which frames our every perception.
In a society that is information-rich and time-poor, people value feeling more than information.
With backgrounds in theology, semiotics, journalism, entertainment, storytelling, and myth, Eglinski Brand Strategy eschews the traditional approaches of marketing and PR in favour of currying humanity’s gods and monsters.
By exploiting our species’s evolutionary need for story, entrepreneurs and employees, alike, can be inspired to do their most meaningful work—truly in service of others. Necessary to elevate mere transaction to meaningful narrative.
Even the most basic story can give “life” to a meaningless object, resulting in value increasing by 2,706 per cent.* Managed well, brands with a clear sense of rectitude outperformed the S&P 500 by over 400 per cent over ten years.** Even companies without such focused virtues, but who embraced design, still managed to outperform the FTSE by over 200 per cent (over ten years).***
When the time comes for you to brand your next project, please keep us in mind. Eglinski offers full branding services—with a focus on strategy, name and identity design—or we can complement an existing team with our novel insights.
People don’t buy products;
they buy better versions of themselves.
With few exceptions, every job people need or want to do has a social, a functional, and an emotional dimension. If a company can understand each of these dimensions, then they can design a product that’s precisely targeted to the job. In other words, the job, not the customer, is the fundamental unit of analysis for a company that hopes to develop products and services that customers will buy.
Does the sun set or does Earth rotate around its nearest star? Myths are used to colloquially understand the world and our place in it. It is shorthand for understanding.
Stories are a particular type of human communication designed to persuade an audience of a storyteller’s worldview.
Homo sapiens evolved to make sense of the world using stories, and our myths are the basis by which we build the shares narratives called culture. In our post-truth world, Eglinski understands that a myth can be more important than a fact and the means to effectively communicate both.
We crave purpose and meaning in our lives
A groundbreaking study of 50,000 brands in 40 countries found that purposeful companies—those who inspire positive values and behaviour beyond the benefits of the service or product itself—outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 400 per cent over 10 years.
Credit Suisse issued the following:
“We believe a strong brand is one of the most powerful and sustainable advantages in modern industry, but one that is often ignored by financial markets. Strong brand companies have consistently generated outsized long-term growth and returns for shareholders. We […] found that an equal-weighted index of companies spending at least 2% of sales on marketing outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 400 basis points annually since 1997. The returns skyrocket if one can consistently screen for the top performing brand companies: the top quintile of these companies outperformed the market by an amazing 17% annually over that period. While marketing spend may be an overly simplistic proxy to identify brand companies, it at least tells us that companies focused on brand building perform well, and that’s even before any real filtering process.”
Studies show that creative people can identify patterns unrecognisable to others. Yesterday’s artists and saints are today’s designers.
Aesthetics is concerned with anything that appeals to the senses—not just what we see, but what we hear, smell, taste, and feel. In short, how we perceive and interpret the world.
Perhaps more importantly, “aesthetics examines our affective domain response to an object or phenomenon” [italics added].* In other words, aesthetics is not just about the artistic merit of a visual effect, but about how people respond to them.
Affective responses happen very fast, and are governed in an automatic, unconscious way by the lower centres of the brain that also govern basic instincts (food, fear, sex, breathing, blinking, et cetera). Think of affective responses as the brain’s bottom-up reaction to what you see and feel. Cognitive responses are your brain’s slower, top-down, more considered responses. They’re governed by your personal cultural views, learning, experiences, and personal preferences that you are aware of and can easily articulate. Affective reactions assign value to your experiences; cognitive reactions assign meaning to what you see and use.
According to research from the Design Council, UK:—
Share prices of design-aware companies out-perform the FTSE 100 and FTSE All-Share indices by more than 200 per cent over a ten year period.
Design increases turnover
For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £20 in increased revenues.
Design is linked to profit
For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £4 increase in net operating profit.
Design boosts exports
For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect a return of over £5 in increased exports.
How we think cannot be separated from how we feel.
How we think cannot be separated from how we feel.
Consumers make the vast majority of their decisions unconsciously.
Businesses invest billions of dollars annually in market research studies developing and testing new ideas by asking consumers questions they simply can’t answer. That’s because neuroscience is now telling us that consumers—humans—make the vast majority of their decisions unconsciously.
Marketers are living a delusion that the conscious mind, the self-chatter in their heads, and the so-called “verbatims” in surveys and focus groups, are the guiding forces of action. They are rationalising the need for the wrong tools aimed at the wrong mind.
Not surprisingly, there is a sea of sameness and mediocrity and merely 2 out of 10 products launched succeed.
The truth is the unconscious mind, the seat of our motivations, communicates in feelings, not words.
Startup & VC
Human needs span a gamut, at the highest and most impactful is the need to contribute to a cause larger than oneself—the so-called spiritual (why). Next is identity (who), then values and beliefs, followed by behaviour (whats), and the environment (where, when).
There is no such thing as “no design”; there is only good design and bad design. Design affects how a product or service is perceived and how usable it is.
Name and Identity Design
There is power in naming. Eglinski uses a thorough auditing process to ensure that a name reinforces the brand, its narrative, and fulfils a variety of aesthetic functions.
Similarly, a well designed identity should embolden your organisation, while positioning the competition against their will.
Pivot & Rebrand
Adapt or Die
Theodore Levitt put it best: “Every major industry was once a growth industry. [The reason] growth is threatened, slowed, or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management. The failure is at the top. The executives responsible for it, according to a Harvard Business Review analysis, are those who deal with broad aims and policies.”
The world is dynamic. Leadership can’t afford not to be. The winning strategy goes to those willing to be changed on behalf of those whom they serve.
Conventional wisdom holds that firms are largely stuck with the competitors they have or that emerge independent of their efforts.
In choosing how to position products, managers have tended to pay attention to the size and growth of the market and overlook the intensity and identity of the competition. The persistent belief that innovation is primarily about building better products and technologies leads managers to an over-reliance on commodified activities and tools.
Stay ahead of competitors by continually redefining the market and introducing new criteria of purchase.
Ideology and Culture
People always want better functionality. Ideological opportunities, in contrast, are produced by major historical changes that shake up cultural conventions of the category, a social disruption. These shifts unmoor consumers from incumbent brands, and prod them to seek out new alternatives. It is an emergent kind of opportunity that is specific to a historical moment and a particular group of people.