The Blog

by Jim Copacino

Live from New York, it’s Branding 101

Branding lessons often come from sources outside the marketing world.

Here’s one from an interview several years ago with the Saturday Night Live comedian Darrell Hammond. You may recall that he did a brilliant impression of Al Gore. (Al Gore, the bumbling presidential candidate not the resurrected Green Saint.)

Hammond said he was struggling with the Gore impression. He was focusing on the speech pattern, the body language, the hair—but we wasn’t getting the character. He “found it” when he realized the key to Gore’s personality was that “he was a guy who tries too hard.” Tries too hard to be liked. Tries too hard to be sincere. Tries too hard to be funny.

This key insight unlocked Hammond’s brilliant creative execution.

There’s an inherent truth and drama within every brand. As an ad agency, it’s our job to identify it with a key insight. And it helps to distill it to a one-phrase revelation.

For Seattle Children’s Hospital it’s “where science meets compassion.”

For LifeWise Health Plan it’s “boredom as a virtue.”

For Symetra Financial it’s a “fearless third act in life.”

We call it a Brief Brief. It’s the crunchy center of a brand. And it can be a springboard to big, compelling creative ideas.