“Brands” is a channel of content and professional connections (or sphere) in the Yingfluence online community. We envision it being used by professionals who want to find case studies and practical information about brand-building.
We selected the image of a rope bridge to represent this sphere on branding. Start-up brands must find a way to cross a chasm to gain traction, so a rope bridge is ideal metaphor for the herculean task. According to Geoffrey Moore, the two earliest stages of penetration or development of a tech market segment are what he calls “innovators” and “early adopters.”1 They need to find delight using a new product/service and share their excitement about a disruptive solution in order for the brand to gain traction with the rest of the market, and stimulate wider adoption. In the age of social media, the path to success or failure can be fast. And Millennials have a disproportionate influence on other generations.
A brand that begins with a single market segment may aspire to reach international status. It might start by expanding domestically to a second or third segment before it spreads its wings across borders. Yingfluence recognizes that many people see brands as a name, logo or trademark, so that is unquestionably part of the intellectual property of each brand. But, there are emotional components of a brand, as well as operational components that enable brand promises to be kept consistently. This is a parallel between branding and building bridges.
Glenn Cockwell suggests that there are seven steps in building what he calls a “rope and plank” bridge.2 It is a meticulous project and each step must be carefully engineered to assure that the bridge is reliable. Once built, it rocks back and forth as one traverses the chasm, but it can be relied upon to get you where you are going. In the case of the pictured Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, it links the Northern Ireland mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede (pronounced “carrick-a-reedy”), which translates to ‘rock of the casting’ from Gaelic. It spans 66 feet (20 meters) and is 98 feet (30 meters) above the rocks and water below. It is a well-known rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim.
Much as a brand needs to be refined over time, this rope bridge has been reconstructed many times over successive generations. The current wire rope and Douglas fir plank bridge was crafted by construction company in Belfast and connected in 2008 at a cost of over £16,000 (21,000 USD or 136,000 CNY). It is a popular destination, with 440,000 visitors in 2016. According to T&L, there have been many instances where visitors, unable to face the walk back across the bridge, have had to be taken off the island of Carrickarede by boat to go back to the mainland.3 In a similar way, branding is not for the faint of heart. The Yingfluence team brings a multi-disciplinary approach to branding to mitigate the anxiety and risks.