Making Meaning

In a world of nonstop messaging, get-it now-push-of-a-buttons and the insurgence of the latest-and-greatest, we are all still searching for one thing—meaning.

We habitually do it spiritually, individually, spontaneously and even holistically with the visuals and messages we come into contact with daily. Validation and the search for meaning are buried within the relationships obtained when we, consumers, encounter brands beyond a surface level.

This is due to the popular demand to establish credibility through the things we buy. Despite this argument, what we fail to remember is that we are having an experience, physically and often sensorially, everywhere, all the time—when we get into a car, turn on a television, check into a hotel or order fast food. The key differentiator is how well the given experience fulfilled our needs as a consumer and defined our role in juxtaposition with that given brand.

Despite the usual allegations of crafting a brand to sale without any substance, our job as creatives is not rooted in coming up with the most interesting visual or concept. Instead, our job is to ask questions, establish systems for communication and discover what type media should be used to effectively define an array of benefits for our audiences’ goals. If meaning is delivered through experiences; what type of experiences can be created to build strong, definable messages that increase brand value?

If Starbucks was just another cup of coffee, would it stretch across cultures globally? If Apple was just another technology company, would your iPhone just be another cellphone? Through building upon a defined, experiential space, offering differentiation and increasing loyalty through consistency, the benefits become personified and connect with an audience on a meaningful level.

Making meaning can be initially generated through asking questions and understanding why a specific audience requires certain benefits from a product, service or entity. After all, a brand’s benefits become the experience. The experience then becomes the meaning.

We live in a culture of nonstop messaging with an overabundance of interactivity and habitual activity. Lets let go of the repetitive nature of designing brand experiences that offer the usual suspects: speed, availability and low price. Instead, lets give consumers what they really desire—meaning.