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9
Chapter 1
The Making of a Creative
Brand Warrior
S
o, just what is a Creative Brand Warrior? And why choose this particular, one-
size-fits-all descriptor for the very eclectic roster of experienced, highly respected
contributors to this book? Well, therein lies the story, and the context, of this book.
After thinking a lot about how to best capture and pass along the lessons learned
during fifty years of participating in clients’ global branding battles, the old title of
consultant or expert seemed a bit lame. And the guru label, used facetiously or not, didn’t fit
at all. With such a diverse list of contributors, only the phrase “creative brand warrior” seemed
to fit everyone. All included here are admired for their skills, and respected for both their
past accomplishments and their continued openness to new challenges. Each has been an
innovator, and each has always been willing to fight for what he or she believes in.
One other commonality among these
contributors is their understanding of the
importance of partnership. All know that
the essential requirement for successfully
establishing a solid brand is to create a
sense of partnership with all of a brand’s
key constituents, including the brand stew-
ards within the parent organization, the
brand’s distribution and communication
channels, and, most of all, with the brand’s
consumers. Perhaps this was always true, but
never has it been more important than today.
The Chambers Concise Dictionary (favored
because it is exactly that, concise) partially
defines “partner” as “an associate, a person
engaged with another in a business, a per-
son who plays on the same side in a game,
and a person who goes in to a formal dinner
with another.” These definitions are quite
apropos when applied in a branding con-
text. Consumers today know that they have
the upper hand in the partnering dance,
with no allegiance to the partner who
brought them. And the only way the mar-
keter and the consumer are playing on the
same side is when consumers consistently
get what they want. In every instance, it is
the buyers and not the sellers who control
this particular kind of relationship.
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Go Logo! A Handbook to the Art of Global Branding10
The creative brand warriors at Lippincott suc-
cessfully partnered with their clients to develop
this eclectic range of global identities.
Over time, bonds forged within creative
organizations can fray badly, as the overall
business changes or the interpersonal rela-
tionships begin to clash. The best creative
relationships—whether in principal/subordi-
nate roles, or in a client/agency situation—
occur when mutual respect and a genuine
liking for one another are a significant part
of the working relationship. In a creative
business, there has to be one person nomi-
nally in charge. Or, at the very least, there
must be clearly outlined responsibilities for
all equal partners, to ensure the firm’s col-
lective energies are harnessed together in
pursuit of agreed, common goals.
Most creatives will experience working
in different kinds of brand warrior tribes,
including very large ones, but will gain most
of their valuable experience from working
in relatively small creative firms. Chambers
simply defines “warrior” as “a fighting man.”
This disposition is a prerequisite to success
in creative branding. However, it’s not such
a good trait to share between partners in
small enterprises. William Kirn wrote the fol-
lowing passage to open his New York Times
Book Review piece on Robert Stone’s Prime
Green, a personal memoir of the 1960s. It
captures what I feel is the most important
lesson “of a creative life lived.”
“Time passes, and what it passes through is
people—though people believe that they are
passing through time. And even, at certain
euphoric moments, directing time. It’s a
delusion, but it’s where memoirs come from,
or at least the very best ones. They tell how
destiny presses on desire and how desire
pushes back, sometimes heroically, always
TACA, a proud Central American airline, offers services
throughout Central, South, and North America with
hubs in El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Peru.
(Photos: Albert Vecerka/Esto)
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