Making it up- the power of not too much

At the first platform, the train was packed. Stop by stop the crowd dwindled. Soon there was only a handful of us left and beside me sat a man. A man dressed in full camouflage. He sat on the bench near the doors, leaning one elbow and some of his weight on an enormous ruck sack. It was bulging and clearly heavy. It was worn. He sat looking tired but comfortable, like he’d been somewhere and now it was quiet.

I could feel the focus in the air as we made up stories about him. All of us, there, silently making up a whole life for this man. He wasn’t telling us a thing, he only offered his image. Yet we made our own stories. And those stories were full of feeling. A common unspoken feeling we all shared in that moment in the train heading home.

As I look into 2014 and my work on the Mozilla Brand, I keep asking myself a simple and maybe stupid question. What is a brand? And in that, what is our Brand Story? How will we know when we’ve nailed it? How will we know when the story is right, authentic to who we are, true to ourselves and resonant with the world?

I have a hunch that it’s right when folks who engage with it feel the same way we did that day on the train. Mesmerized for just long enough to get a picture just clear enough and leaves just room enough for our imaginations to fill in the blanks and leave us shifted.

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