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Go Logo! A Handbook to the Art of Global Branding by Mac Cato

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Disney is the ultimate brand representing family fun with magical
experiences for children and adults alike. Disney Clubhouse features
activities and programming for children. (Design: AdamsMorioka)
5
Determinant 5
Alchemy and Magic:
Making Life Worthwhile, Wishing Upon a Star
From Chambers Concise Dictionary:
Alchemy: the infant stage of chemistry, aimed chiefly
toward transmuting other metals into gold and
discovering the elixir of life; a transmitting potency
Magic: the art of producing marvelous results
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Go Logo! A Handbook to the Art of Global Branding110
A
ncient records show that the peoples of our world have believed in magic
for perhaps 10,000 years. From the Stone Age to our current Internet age,
we seem to always need it to explain the unexplainable in our natural lives.
It was not so long ago—in the late Middle Ages, in fact—that alchemy was
considered a serious, if slightly mystical, pursuit of scientific inquiry. Much
further back in time, and on the less-serious side, jesters and magicians were to be found in
most royal courts and in temporary residence at village fêtes throughout the world. On every
continent were formats of one kind or another for soothsayers, fortune tellers, oracles, witch
doctors, medicine men, and miracle workers.
Magic has psychological meanings deeply
embedded in parts of the brain we still
don’t fully understand. There is considerable
scientific evidence that our need for identity
and meaning is hardwired in our minds; it
follows that emotional, magical branding has
always been an integral part of the human
experience. In the increasingly cluttered
media environment in which we now con-
duct our daily rituals, only brands based on
deep psychological meaning will prosper.
This doesn’t mean the product itself needs
magic to convince us that it can fulfill a seri-
ous physical need. But brands that have the
potent mix of alchemy and magic to satisfy
both emotional needs and wants will be
among the more successful.
Bringing magic into a brand story can
transform the trappings of ordinary life
with the power of the supernatural. How
many amazing feats of cleaning have been
accomplished with the powerful help of
Mr. Clean or a White Tornado? Of course,
the full potential of a creative interpretation
of magic and its ability to transport us out
of our day-to-day mental coping mecha-
nisms and into a fantasy has not come
close to being fully realized. No brand has
triggered more entertainment magic than
the Disney brand. Magic as a theme and a
format can still transport audiences of mil-
lions out of humdrum reality and into the
wilder reaches of our imaginations. Magic,
like alchemy, can turn ordinary products
into gold, by elevating the brand image
to “gold standard” status. Brand warriors
should always think about how to cast a
compelling spell on behalf of the brands
they work on.
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111Twelve Key Determinants to Creating Successful Brands
The Time Warner logo was cre-
ated when Time Inc. and Warner
Communications merged in 1990.
The newly formed company needed
to communicate the essences of each
company—entertainment and journal-
ism. The logo is an amalgam of an eye
and an ear, the essence of communi-
cation. The logo has also become syn-
onymous with the Time Warner cable
division. (Design: Steff Geissbuhler,
Partner, Chermayeff & Geismar)
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