What’s in A Name?
We chose the name 4 Directions Branding both because of our heritage and affinity for Indigenous culture and traditions, and also because of our approach to branding, as we see a brand as a system.
So, while we may differentiate a visual image from a personality of a company, or a product positioning from product design, or a team from a company, we see them as all inherently interconnected and interdependent. A brand is not a mere public face of a company, but a truly authentic brand is an outward manifestation of the soul of a company.
Our approach is to journey to the soul of a company and find its meaning. Then we work collaboratively with you to develop your brand into a total system of personality, story, values, and design that has impact and naturally engenders meaningful connections.
Meaning of Four Directions
The concept of Four Directions is universal among Indigenous people throughout North America, and is even seen in some representations around the world. Usually depicted in the form of a medicine wheel, its description varies from tribe to tribe, nation to nation.
The medicine wheel is a simple circle with an intersecting cross. The cross reaches to the directions of North, South, East and West, and the quadrants can represent colors (again varying by tribe or nation), or animals, stages of life, types of sacred medicines, or elements of nature such as earth, fire, water and air, or the four seasons of the year.
While the representations may vary, the underlying meaning is essentially the same—that all life exists in a system, and that all things are inherently connected.
– Howard Schultz
– Howard Schultz
Our Perspective of a Brand
In the 19th century, as mass production took form, it became necessary to identify the source or the provider of products. Since products were typically shipped and sold in wooden boxes at the time, the practice of literally burning or branding an insignia into a box became commonplace, and the term “branding” or “brand” was born to reference the act of associating products to their makers.
Today, the concept of branding a company has evolved far beyond a mere identifying insignia. While there are many who still struggle to understand the meaning of a brand beyond a mere logo and graphic, the term in the truest sense refers to the whole experience that a consumer has with a company.
Jeff Bezos said, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Seth Godin speaks to the total experience a person has with a company, including the tone of the voice of the person who answers the phone. Godin also speaks to the importance of providing “remarkable” products and services, which then speak for themselves. Steve Jobs integrated brand into every aspect of Apple, especially including product design, as the design itself represented what the company stood for.
In a holistic sense, we perceive a brand is an interdependent system of people, products and experience. Thus, the “Wheel of Transformational Branding,” and the outcome of our work being, “Connectedness with everything and everyone in your organization.”