Half with the head, half with the heart

That’s what my grandmother used to always say. Gramma B would hold court with my brother, our friends, and me as she sat regally on a strappy plastic chair on the patio of her Palm Springs condo…drinking hot coffee on a 100+ degree-day. Often, the lecture would turn to love, something she knew a fair amount about having spent her entire adult life married to my grandfather. “Half with the head, half with the heart.” As a teenager awash in hormones I took it to mean: marry someone who really gets you going but will also be a good friend for life. I took that advice.

Now to brands. I’ve spent a good portion of my professional career looking at how brands tell their story. One of the glaringly obvious things I see is whether their story is out of balance. Whether it is too much about passion or too much about fact.

Like a good partner for life, a great brand shares the facts of their offering in equal measure to an emotional connection to their brand. If it’s too descriptive about their product or service offering they come across as cold, mechanical, distant and uncaring. If it’s all about high energy, explosive ideas, throbbing vision, it comes across as lacking substance, being over-hyped and insincere.

I recently delved into the brand story of a global powerhouse in recruitment and human resource tools. Their communications were so precise and analytical but devoid of passion. Think too much Mr. Spock and not enough Captain Kirk. The problem is that this company is in the business of connecting people with epic corporate journeys, yet there is not enough of their own vision to add a human touch. It’s true that they are already highly successful, but have they reached their potential? That’s a question they pose to others…perhaps they should ask themselves that too.

So how about your brand. When you take a look at the sea of communications you put out into the world and within the cloistered walls of your organization, is it balanced? Ask yourself: is it half with the head and half with the heart?  

Though she died some 20 years ago, I still ask myself that question when I put together the story of an organization or a brand. Perhaps you should too.

Go ahead…make Gramma B proud!

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