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Brands as Patterns- Why you should think like Beethoven….

(note, this is blog post #2) in a 5-part series of reflections and reactions from SXSW 2012)

You’ve all heard of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Its the iconic, memorable classical piece that reverberates with the familiar “da-da-da-dum”.  Beethoven’s familiar musical score is the perfect metaphor for how brands should be in 2012. Familiar and distinctive in Pattern, yet fluid and creative.

This was one of the key takeaways at perhaps one of our favorite SXSW Panels this year- “Brands as Patterns” hosted by Marc Shillum (Method), Greg Johnson (HP)  Robin Lanahan (Microsoft) and composer Walter Werzowa.

The panelists provided deep insight into the power of patterns for brands today, especially within a cluttered digital space and ADD-consumers bombarded with messages from thousands of brands across multiple platforms. They provided the marketers among us with soundbytes that we can take back to our team and serve up to our clients. I’ve taken the liberty of curating the “best of the best” below.

“Brand guidelines were once specific, definitive and repeated often. This approach, given consumer immersion in a fast moving space, is out of date”

“Like water, our experiences are liquid and brands must be too. Brand guidelines must be designed to flex with the world we live in”

Being a digital first brand means being distinctive, relevant and active.

  • Distinctive:  Your signature expression- remember Beethoven’s 5th?
  • Relevant: Think about dating. What matters most to your date? Tell them. Kiss them first to let them know.
  • Active: Keep moving with the times

Composing a musical score is like creating a brand. It has the familiar “da da da dum” of Beethoven. In Beethoven’s score, that familiar theme is only repeated four times, BUT there are 27 different variances of that sound throughout the symphony. “Successful music comes from the right combination of the expected and the new”

And finally, we’ll leave you with an image emblamatic of the message of this panel. Brands need to create, in the words of Greg Johnson, “temporal iconography”. Here’s an image shared by Marc Shillum in his white paper on “Creating Patterns”.

(and after you’re done reading this, take some time to listen to Beethoven and start composing the score for your brand…)

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Author: tysong

Tyson is Director of Social Media at Acsys Interactive and spends his time between the Boston, CT and NY Offices. When he's not learning about social, he's chasing his two boys on the "North Shore" of Massachusetts. Also, just because he lives in Boston, doesn't mean he loves Boston sports teams.... You can find him on twitter @goodridge


Published March 2012

Category Strategy

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