I had bilateral knee surgery Tuesday afternoon and have since been enjoying a whole new view of life—namely the patch of blue sky above the dumpster outside the bay window, through the frame of my bandaged feet propped on the arm of the couch. Needless to say, this has left me with a great deal of time (but very little energy) to think…
According to my [very capable] surgeon, the primary reasonarthroscopy works so well is that it redirects the body’s healing resources to address the real problem. When traumatized in any way, the body will react immediately to what it considers the greatest threat—outside infection. If the skin (the body’s armor) has been compromised, it concentrates energy on healing that breach, even if the more serious injury is actually below the surface. With arthroscopy, the surface incisions are very small (3-4 slits each about a centimeter long) allowing the body to quickly seal itself off from infection and get to work healing where the real damage is.
What’s all this got to do with branding, you ask? Perhaps nothing. In which case you can blame the Percocet soup I’ve been swimming in the past 3 days and tell me to go back to sleep. But perhaps…perhaps it presents an interesting paradigm.
Think of a brand, just for a moment, in terms of the body: corporate culture forms a skeleton to support the vital organs of products and services. Core values and goals direct activity and user experience is at the heart. Brands have skin too—and some could definitely use a face-lift. It’s tempting, when presented with such a brand, to immediately reach for the design scalpal and carve out a 10" incision (the way my knees would have been done 10 years ago.) But, the more we as designers/consultants abrade the surface of a brand (the terrible logo, the hodge-podge website) the less likely we are to get to address the real causes of the client’s “pain."
If, instead, we take an arthroscopic approach; carefully evaluating and making only the surface “incisions" absolutely necessary, we might be able to help the client direct those “healing" resources to the deeper problems (inconsistent user experience, poorly defined target audience, weak messaging etc.) and revitalize the brand from the inside out.
In the end, isn’t that better for everyone?
I hope to find yours here.