The main issue for designing a brand, is to find where the focal point of the whole image strategy is. For doing so, you then need a map. The purpose of having this map is not due to a cartographic interest, but for using this device to anticipate causes and effects of the subject, as well as for having a guide for exploring new possibilities of meaning, being finally a way to reach the ideal positioning of your business, product, organization or image. In other words, the ideal path between a product and its demand.
How can you make this map?
In fact this map will be made of answers. To construct this map of situation, the specialist have to connect all existing variables: objectives, social, cultural and political nature of the context have to be defined. Two layers of material are essentials:
The first one determines the sense of the map through the eyes of your customer.
For that reason, you will need the establishment of key drivers for framing the job, a definition of the dynamics and the “who is who” of your entity: owners, opinion leaders, representatives of sectors, opponents, in sum all influential people on the theme.
Thus, the specialist has to find initial answers to questions such as what your entity is and what wants to be, by asking questions like “who wants to do what, driven by what purpose, though which means, and with which results? This is the starting point because remember that all maps are built to get a goal.
At the beginning of this stage, you should have a first contact with representatives of the entity. You will maintain such initial dialogue till the end of the consultancy. You also need to have access to vital information such as surveys and researches, expectations, structure and desired outcomes. Besides, you will need to have access to existing PR and communicational material to understand and personalized in deep all about the audience you will have to reach in particular. But that´s not all: the researcher has to improve this first layer of institutional information with more inputs.
The second aspect is the view from the others.
You will need to interpret here what receptors think and feel about your entity and also to learn particular codes and media.
You will use different ways to collect the needed information to make your work. You will make a research. This research will provide tools for analysing and interpreting the action scenario and for the detection of likely conducting ways. The objective of this inquiry is to detect imaginaries, regulations, realities and representatives of each sector involved.
Classical statistical methodology can be used, but its result will be partially biased, even though some inputs may provide useful data (some close questions can be so closed). Accordingly and for addressing this deficit, two complementary fieldworks are proposed: an anthropological base one and a psychological criteria study. Both method work with words and speeches: the speech of respondents will answer various questions by showing their particular visions. Hence, based on the open-ended questions, we can explore and identify the points that unite and separate the different people involved. This discourse analysis provides several inputs, such as representations and symbols that can be later used in the creative phase. As result you will find a valley in your map, where the crossing of interest will be found.
Let say more about such fieldworks. In the first case, you will seek to understand the community of people that make the topic up, by means of the encounter of values, ideas and beliefs that are currently crossing the culture of your target.
Participatory interviews are the only resources that you will have.
After interviews several cases, one will notice trends on answers. You will find here a sediment, a more solid soil basement from where to stand up your conclusion. These trends will provide you a more stable understood of the segment you are addressing. Such exploration is no longer relative as soon as a critical mass of answers fall on the same place, that is when we found “the real” feelings about the topic.
The second method uses fundamentals of psychology to analyse responses of the interviewees.
The psychology thought accomplishes this by listening a person and from there, by identifying the expressive inner elements (those that cannot be contained by social repression). In this case, and given that our interest it is not therapeutic but to know as deeply as possible the circumstances, the available resource that we have is to read the stories of the interviewed.
This criterion is founded on searching on how people are recording their experiences. For this scheme of using tools from individual psychology, Jacques Lacan works are useful to discover how others exert influences on personal identity. At the same time, they helps to visualize how a collective identity, “intersubjectivity or discourse of identity” of the subject is structured.
With the use of this methods, you can get rich information that has to be interpreted. During meetings it is important to catch any non-verbal expression or reaction that questions can produce on each participant, and then you must write hypothesis about their reasons.
As a balance, both techniques allow you to approach to the imaginary (desires and expectations), to the real (a kind of social biography taken as absolute), and to the symbolic register (rules and culture that socially frame a person), in this case to the members of this particular entity.
Last, it is clear that this activity will demand so much work. However, for the purpose of the work is worth the effort: the information that we will get will be richer in representations and will offer a greater understanding of the entity as a whole, and not as a collection of fragments. Finally, this method will provide a map of meanings about the characteristics of this community, from which you can move on.
This map offers you quite rich Information about demands, communicational media, stories that can be content for social networks posts, creative and representative slogans and sentences, political feed-back and new action ideas all can be found here. In short, the current discourses, language and grammar of the theme are available for anyone who wants to read this map.
In consequence, the map as all map, help you to move on.
© Sebastian Guerrini, 2014 – www.guerriniisland.com