Photo by  Brad Neathery  

Photo by Brad Neathery 

Picasso had Sylvette David. John Lennon had Yoko One. And you have… btw, who is your muse? Marketing is a creative field. So, we too should have a muse to direct and guide our creativity. Here are some ideas to help you find a brand muse and inspire you to take a fresh, focused approach.

What’s a Brand Muse?

Let’s first agree on the definition of a brand muse. Traditionally, a muse has been seen as a beautiful woman who inspires a man. This goes back to Greek mythology when several of Zeus’s daughters were seen as goddesses inspiring certain arts and sciences. For instance, Calliope was the muse of epic poetry while Terpsichore was the muse of dance. 

Of course, the woman inspiring man definition is outdated today. Women get to be inspired too! In thinking of the muse in a marketing context, though, lets think of a brand muse as someone who inspires the marketers to do their best, most innovative work. There’s levels to this and having a muse gets you to a higher level. This muse can’t be a nebulous idea. Instead, this is a specific, detailed idea of the person you want to interact with your brand. This muse, then, can serve as the hero of your brand’s story.

A brand muse provides a focal point. With a brand muse in mind, you can avoid: 

  • Getting distracted by what the competitors are doing; you’ll stick to what works for your brand muse.
  • Being drawn into technology or brand channels just because they are the new, shiny things; instead they’ll have to speak to the muse.
  • Losing site of your brand values — the brand muse keeps you authentic.

How to Find Your Brand Muse

Finding a brand muse takes strategic effort. The clearer the view you have of your muse, the more inspired you can become. Here are some steps to take:

Step 1. Look Inward

Gather together all the folks in your organization that interact with your customer. These are the marketing, customer service, sales teams, etc. Leverage their combined knowledge to determine what makes the customer tick. Use this insight to create a concrete, comprehensive view of your brand muse.

Step 2. Look Outward

Survey your social media channels to identify the folks who are hungry for more information about your brand. Determine the common thread among these individuals. Add their attributes to the brand muse’s persona.

Step 3. Research

Start your additional research by having conversations with your real-life customers. Talk, in-person or online, with people already interacting with your brand; identify their pain points and aspirations. I once heard a story about a company who would save an empty seat at meetings so they would always think about the customer. They wouldn't talk to a real customer, they would just save an empty seat in meetings. Don't do that. Instead, figure out how you can not only solve their concerns, but also help them reach their goals. Now, incorporate this information into your view of the brand muse.

Step 4. Give the Muse Dimension

You’ve gathered a lot of information to work with, but take the time also to cultivate a definite view of the muse. Benefit from:

  • Naming your muse. 

  • Creating a visualization of your muse.

  • Imagining the personality of your muse.

  • Developing an ongoing relationship with your muse — the muse can’t be a static concept (unless you want your marketing to stagnate too).

Cultivating a brand muse takes work. Yet, the inspiration that results can help you create relevant and remarkable brand communications that are cohesive and authentic. [insert one of Flex's bombs here]

@meadeology