This week on the Creator’s Tip, Patrick Hanlon from Thinktopia talks to us about his book Primal Branding. We’ll cover the seven aspects of the primal code briefly and why you should incorporate it into your video marketing activities to help your viewers better identify and attach themselves to your brand as advocates.
What is Primal Branding?
Primal Branding is all about building communities. Brands should be looked at as consensual groups, meaning people who want to get together and do the same thing. A brand is essentially a belief system. It helps you to let viewers and consumers know who you are and what you are about. There are seven pieces that work together to fully create that brand image and belief system.
7 Primal Codes
1) Story. Your brand needs to have a story or a background. It tells where your brand originated from and gives viewers or consumers something to connect with and something they can believe and trust in themselves.
2) Creed. This tells what you believe in and how you might be different or similar to other belief systems out there.
3) Icons. These are quick associations or flashes of meaning that are associated with your brand. They can be visual, a particular smell, sound – things like the taste of McDonald’s French fries, the sight of a Coca-Cola label or Mickey Mouse ears.
4) Rituals. Rituals are a repeated an experience associated with the brand, whether it’s positive or negative. The kind of engagements your viewers or consumers have with you will build up a certain expectation about your brand and future experiences they can expect to have if they watch your content.
5) Language. All belief systems or brands have their own set of language and words with a special meaning for those who buy into the belief system. If someone wants to be “part of the group” they need to learn the associated words.
6) Anti-believers. For every belief system there is a group of anti-believers (ie Mac users vs PC; Republicans vs Democrats). It identifies who and what the brand is or is not. It can also give you a good idea of the direction you want to take your brand or which directions to avoid.
7) Leader. Finally, there needs to be a leader. People who set out against all odds to recreate something in the world in their vision. It ranges from big name individuals down to team leaders and sales managers.
If you can effectively incorporate all seven pieces into your brand and content it creates an effect that makes people take notice. Many products and brands have only one or two pieces of the code and in some cases this is enough for effective branding however, the more pieces you can incorporate into your channel and brand the more cohesive your image and brand will be and easier to attract and keep viewers and consumers interested in what you are doing and offering.
QUESTION: What parts of the primal code are missing from your content's community?
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View The Full Video Transcript:
On this week’s Creator’s Tip video we’re going to talk to Patrick Hanlon about primal branding. A lot of us really want people to attach themselves to the content and the marketing that we’re doing here on YouTube and other places. We’re going to talk about how you guys can do that well with a narrative about your brand that will really help people emotionally attach and engage themselves with your stuff. That’s coming up.
Hey guys, my name is Tim Schmoyer and this is Patrick Hanlon from Thinktopia and we’re going to talk with you guys about his book called Primal Branding and it’s really good. I read it, I love it. There’s seven aspects of the primal code that we’re going to talk about here in a second and if you guys really need to have all these seven pieces in line with your content and if you think that you can use, because if you do it’ll create a narrative around your brand, your content and your strategies for marketing that really help tell a really well-formed story that people can identify with, attach themselves to and really engage with. I’ve seen it work, personally, for my own stuff, my own personal blog channel in some huge ways we’re going to talk about later. First of all, could you tell us just what Primal Branding is at it’s essence? What is Primal Branding?
Sure. Primal Branding is all about building communities, basically. We look at brands as consensual groups; people who want to get together and just be doing the same thing. It’s about how you create that community. So, we look at brands as really a belief system, and who knew that there was really a system behind a belief system? Basically, it’s – when you can tell someone where you’re from and what you’re about, here’s what signifies it, here’s how you use this, or how we interact with one another, here’s what we’re not and what we want to be, here’s how we describe ourselves and here’s the leader. That’s basically what primal branding is all about. It’s like a creation story that tells where you’re from, this is the great thing, the mythos behind the family, the legend that started us. And in incorporation, we all know that Google started in a dorm room, so did Facebook and Apple started in a garage and Coca-Cola started in a drug store down in Atlanta, as so forth. So, we all have a great legend about where something’s come from, it could have been written on a back of an envelope. That’s the beginning. And where things come from today is incredibly important in the world of the internet and so forth when you have false personalities going on out there. So, the essence is that we want to know what you’re about. You know, whether you think different, or just do it. We want to know if you’re a good egg. Then there are icons. These are quick concentrations of meaning that show who you are. You see Nike swish and you know automatically that it’s Nike and you know what that means. See the Mickey Mouse here, so you know what that means too.
Yeah, my 3-year-old loves those ears.
Exactly. Like McDonald’s arches, right? My 3-year-old spots McDonald’s arches and he wants to drive the car. Then there are – speaking of McDonald’s, I should mention that icons involve all the senses, it’s not just about sight. The taste of McDonald’s french-fries is iconic, the smell of Abercrombie and Fitch when you walk into the mall.
Bath & Body Works.
Bath & Body Works, etc, etc.
Not my favorite store, I just know that one.
Then, working very closely with icons are rituals. Rituals are the repeated – either positive or negative – engagements that you have. It could be customer service, it could be the person behind the counter, but these are kind of the expectations, the routines in your – like your 10-thousand-mile tune-up is a ritual. So, if you have a Saturn you have a completely different set of expectations than someone who has a BMW or a Mercedes. Either way, you’re pissed if those expectations aren’t met. If the donuts aren’t there, if the coffee’s not hot, it’s upsetting. It can ruin your day.
So, rituals are important. Then following rituals, it’s how you talk about yourself and the language that you use. Also, in addition to these other pieces of primal code, they all help to differentiate you. The words, we all have learned iced grande decaf latte, if you want to order from Starbucks, or one of another 10 thousand permutations.
I still don’t know that language.
You’ve got to learn it.
I’m not part of the community.
You’re not part of the community, exactly. But at another level, look at the last time you started a job – a new job – you spent the first couple days or weeks learning all the words that everyone else knew, right.
Yeah. That’s true. I get that one, you’re like the odd one, right?
Right. And all the jokes that everyone else knew the answer to and all the anecdotes about the picnic and the party and all of that stuff. You were trying to fit in. And if you don’t learn all that stuff, you don’t fit into the community. So, it’s the same if you’re a baseball fan or a soccer fan, you learn all the things, all the words, all the famous plays, all the famous games, all the stadiums and everything. And, how well you know all that stuff shows where you stand on the hierarchy of baseball.
And if you don’t know any of it, you’re not a fan.
I’m not. I have no idea.
So, then there are the non-believers. The non-believers are the people who are basically the other, you know, Mac versus PC, dumber than you though, Republicans versus Democrats, and those are the people that really help show you who you don’t want to become, what you don’t want to be, and so forth. So, that helps you to figure out who you do want to be, what you do want to be about. That’s very important. That’s them. Then, finally, there’s the leader. The NFE, you know, Time Magazine front cover level, it’s the Bill Gates, Oprahs, Steve Jobs, Ted Bransons and so forth. But on other levels it’s the team leader, it’s the national sales manager, and so forth. And these people are all responsible for pulling together all seven pieces of the primal code. Because when all seven levels are together they snap people’s heads around. And, people kind of fall into it. There are a lot of products out there that may have one piece of code, they may have the creation story or something like that. Or they may have a couple different things. And in some categories, that could be enough. But, when you have all seven working together it’s harmonious and people fill in the blanks. Especially in today’s world with social media and everything, it’s important to have – there’s a statistic out there that people start to believe you are, or take notice of you when they hear about you from five or six different sources. Okay. Five or six different times. It could be from friends, it could be from Facebook, someone could Google you through and found you, like that. In other cultures, like in Asia, it could be ten or twelve different times. So, we have it a little bit easier. Once you’ve gotten all these things together then you have what we call primal branding. This is something that companies like Starbucks, Apple, Coca-Cola and others have done. They’ve been able to do through hiring smart people, having a lot of money, put it all together. And a lot of good luck and good timing.
Each of these aspects are so important, I mean, we covered them at a really high level, you know, just skimmed over them. His book, it’s linked up below, you should definitely go check it out and I’ve really found it valuable. Because just having like one of those pieces missing, just kind of breaks the whole narrative in some regards. Especially, a lot of us probably have certain aspects of it in place, maybe we have a creed – and although I’ve noticed that most people’s creeds are more like descriptions of what they do rather than this is what we believe and why you should join us – which is a huge distinction that, when I read that, that was like an epiphany for me, like a light bulb went off.
In a lot of companies that’s why you come to work in the morning.
Yeah. Yeah. And getting people to subscribe to your channels, your YouTube channels, because they really believe in what you’re doing and what you stand for rather than just the stuff that you make, because if it’s the stuff that you make, assuming that someone makes the stuff that you make better, then they leave and go somewhere else.
That’s a great point. Because so many people do things in a parody world, all this – hundreds of different types, tons of cars to choose from, for example, and burgers and everything else.
But if they attach themselves to you because they support what you believe and they believe that too, which sense that the pagans and non-believers and all that, because it’s all intertwined, guys, it’s awesome. We’re going to talk a little bit more about it in next week’s and kind of go into a little bit more detail about what my personal experience has been with this primal code and how it’s applied to my personal YouTube channel and how I’ve seen engagement go up, use go up, subscribers go up as a result of implementing this seven aspect of this primal code. So, go check it out, it’s linked up below. And, if you guys want to talk with Patrick about your own branding, your company, whatever you guys are working on and how you can implement this into your stuff, his website is thinktopia, it’s down below. Go check it out, you can contact him there. He works with Beth Spy, Levi, PayPal, American Express, a lot of really high-level brands. Yes, many of them. Go check him out. He’d love to help your company do the same thing that these other companies are doing and if this is your first time hanging out with us, we’d love to have you subscribe to our channel for our videos coming up next week about diving into this a little bit deeper, specifically related to online video. So, if you guys have any ideas and comments and thoughts about how you’ve already implemented some of these, maybe without knowing it, maybe intentionally, maybe not, comment below and let us know. We learn from you guys every week. You guys are awesome and thanks for hanging out with us. We’ll see you guys again next week for another Creator’s Tip video. Bye.