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How to disappear

Artistic voice is probably the only thing we creators treasure more than the tools of our craft or access points to our muse. Artistic voice is very connected to our creative egos. But, when it comes to making brand stories, the creator’s artistic voice is not always a good idea. It could compromise quality and make the story less responsive to the audience.



When I first started writing for different brands about ten years ago, I had clients whose brand voices more-or-less aligned with my writer’s voice. Looking back, now I also think that they clearly hired me as a writer because they ‘liked’ my artistic voice, whether it was right for their brand or not. But, when they started recommending me to others, I started getting clients whose brands didn’t quite speak like me. I remember back then, getting the first client whose brand had a specific sense of humor; my mind went uh-oh.


This is when Public Works had to create a disappearing trick. We had to avoid subjectivity and defaulting into our personal artistic voices when producing commissioned stories. The challenge was to figure out how to make our artistic personalities temporarily disappear, leaving behind our expertise in making stories. This is how we ended up creating our Brand Articulation Framework.



The Brand Articulation Framework is a document used as a tool to unify ideas concerning a business's values, identity, and personality. Although best created through a workshop with the brand custodians, we also created a more economical interview-based document version so that more clients could afford it. It basically aligns all decision-makers of a project. The Brand Articulation Framework documents a brand’s desires, values, key personality traits, strategies and audience. It’s a work tool that sets the narrative voice and even themes for our stories for clients. It gathers and streamlines consensus as to ‘who’ a brand persona is, using near-universal symbols and emotional spectrums. This makes the brand persona easily translatable to creative productions from writing, photography, and films to interiors and customer experiences.


Public Works Brand Articulation Framework is a tool that helps us keep stories true to clients’ brand personas consistent while creating. It allows us to quiet our personal egos as creatives, and incorporate the persona of the brand we’re currently creating for, along with our expertise. It retains the intended persona, and gives the story its form through our skills in creating stories.



The Brand Articulation Framework is such a fundamental part of our storytelling now, and we’ve nicknamed them BAFs. Now, I begin each commissioned story with the BAF, making room for the brand persona and making a part of myself disappear for the time being. It works like magic.


BAFs are not just for writing; it’s a tool that can be used by all kinds of creators from designers, visual artists, interior designers, and filmmakers to content creators. Alain, my other half in life and at Public Works, also uses the BAF similarly when creating stories; his process involves mood boards, brand playlists which lends to constructing more abstract narratives using visuals.


We also use BAFs to help business founders to view the brand as a persona external to their own personality despite natural parallels. This removed room for subjective feedback based on personal preferences and moods, allowing the brand to maintain a consistent face and voice in the public eye. It was a win-win from all directions.


After we incorporated BAFs into our storytelling process, the stories were always written from the voice that was clearly identified and outlined with the involvement of the business founders. Our clients like it because hearing their stories being told from a voice they’ve only fleetingly heard in their head before is something of a trip. Even beyond working with us, our clients use BAFs as a guide to create briefs for other creatives and remind themselves of the motives and values that their brand stands for. We are sometimes commissioned by clients to brief and help new creatives joining their team to use the framework effectively.


Although the outcomes of this process seem ‘uncanny’ in our stories as some of our clients say, there’s nothing magical about it. It’s really a very rational and straightforward process that drives the BAF and how it enables us to map and maintain a brand’s persona through stories. Seeing life through the magician lens often enough, I find this concrete rationality quite magical in the same vein that chemistry is magical. This is why the Brand Articulation Framework becomes a neat disappearing trick for all creators making stories for brands.



Curious about how our Brand Articulation Framework can help your personal or business brand? You can read more about it here.


 

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