I’ll admit that I really enjoy graphic novels. I even liked them way back when I just called them “comics.”
This, plus my strange fascination with information architecture, lead me to an amazing book called “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud. By the end, it was as if someone had revealed the things that were right in front of me and I never saw. It was pointing out where the puppet had strings. I love that feeling.
One of the biggest “oh wow” moments was from a simple statement: no matter how action-packed a comic panel might be, it is static. All the actual “action” takes place between the panels.
Here’s a drawing of Batman pulling his arm back and here’s a drawing of Batman punching a bad guy. Two still images, and my brain filled in the rest.
In fact, the action was happening between the panels. The action was happening in my head.
… mind blown…
The lesson for branding is simple, if not necessarily obvious: in branding, you are the one drawing the still pictures (in a sense), and it is the reader (viewer, prospect, target) who puts them together to create that sense of action.
Example: You claim that your employer brand is deeply innovative. You have ten examples of the kinds of innovation you build. But the subject may have just had to go three rounds with your customer service to solve a problem. And in doing so, had to explain her problem five times to five different people because there didn’t seem to be much innovation in the customer service systems. Claim innovation all you want, but the brand actually lives in their head.