The Da Vinci Brand Quiz

OK – so here’s a simple quiz: What is a brand?

Answer in 10 words or less.

The need to be concise and precise is the challenge. The Lord’s Prayer has 72 words, The Gettysburg address has 216 words – the average research debrief report has somewhere upwards of 10,000 words – usually also supplemented by tables of data to give it a sense of robustness because numbers must be right!

In truth, what most clients actually seek is the one single page that captures the three elements that matter to them: problem, insight and action. Without that laser-like focus on reducing things to what matters – albeit supported by analysis – then the smart and difficult thinking has not been done. Leonardo Da Vinci said that ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. Without simplicity and clarity then any solutions proposed will not be practicable and achievable.

So, although support analysis really matters – does your research capture the essence of the insights in a succinct and actionable way? Lack of brevity is usually a sign of lack of understanding. As Mark Twain once said: ‘ I am sorry I didn’t have time to be brief!’ Brevity is harder than verbosity!

Our answer to the question is simple: ‘A brand is: An experience defined by a set of prioritized emotions’. It captures a powerful insight – experience, emotions, prioritization. This is why brands can leap categories – Nescafe, Mars, Virgin, Nike, Nivea …..what they deliver is defined by relevance and desirability of the emotions.

Prioritized emotions are the essence of brands – they are how you make the consumer feel – and the stimuli are a means to that end. Identifying these emotions can only be done by techniques which work with the target consumer – since it is their actual experience and not some imagined version of it that matters – your consumers define your brand. So, if you have the word emotions in your answer then score yourself 7/10.

If you used the term prioritized (or something similar) then you have realized that the crucial thing is to understand the relative importance of these emotions – because that permits you to understand ranging, brand stretch – even how to make cost savings without eroding the brand essence. Prioritized emotions is the heart of brands – and if this term or its equivalent was in your answer – then you have absolutely cracked it – score yourself 10/10.

Sensory Space is our market pushing research tool that uses a set of questioning and consumer diagnostic tools that take this process into the product and retail environment – both in store and on line – at a deeper and more impactful level. It is a truism that ‘If you ask the same questions you get the same answers’. We believe that since the environment has changed fundamentally and the consumer continues to evolve so we too need to enhance and improve how we understand the consumer.

The emotions remain a constant since they drive actions and loyalty – we simply need tools and techniques to reveal, understand and prioritize them – and Sensory Space delivers that advantage.

If you’d like to find out more about Sensory Space, our unique insights tool, give our team a call on +44 (0) 1133 365 365 or email us on