branding: the aesthetic manifestation of systems thinking

back in the middle of may, i visited one of my favorite places in the world, stitchdown farm. my new friends, andrew and rita plotsky hosted a lamb roast and it was amazing. andrew and rita have a lot of social gravity and when they put their energy into it, they pull lots of super interesting people from all over the country to the space they create. i can always look forward to good conversations there.

this time, andrew and i had a good conversations about how we’re both viewing our branding work. i described my work in a way that i hadn’t before and now i’m just writing it down.

to date, i think the story of my life has been systems thinking. all of my major life phases or decisions are marked by something systems related. first love at work (a christian mission camp i used attend and work at), then the food system, then cities. now branding.

  1. the decision to take time off from school was driven by my understanding of ‘love at work’s impact on the city of gretna, florida.
  2. my return to college was prompted by my understanding of the potential of the food system to save humanity on the planet.
  3. my focus on urban planning was driven by thinking of cities as systems.

and now, i’m incredibly interested in branding. i think branding is the aesthetic manifestation of systems thinking. my other systems loves have not gone away. they’re now being rolled up into this new system.

we also talked about each of our brand holy grail’s. ours were sort of similar: branding a town/downtown. there is something exciting about shaping how current residents experience a town. it’s also exciting to think about how visitors and future residents will experience that same place. the most interesting question of all, though, is how to balance those two experiences.

anyway, branding as the aesthetic manifestation of systems thinking makes a lot of sense to me. i wonder if anyone else feels this way. hrm.