The Quantum Mechanics of Branding
My qualifications are as follows: Bachelors of Science in Physics; Bachelors of Science in Applied Mathematics; Masters of Education in Curriculum and Teaching. Therefore, I am supposed to be a high school physics teacher in Oregon.
Instead, I work at Xische & Co., a hybrid consulting firm in Dubai, managing clients on projects ranging from strategic brand development to social and web experiences to large-scale technology installations. All of which has very little to do with Hermitian operators and gradient fields.
Becoming a Storyteller
The classic physicist joke centers on our compulsion to simply everything: “imagine the dog is a circle.” To succeed in physics, you need a knack for translating the complex into the mundane. And (heaven forbid) you should want to talk to a layperson about physics, you have to be more than a translator: you must also be a dynamic storyteller: “imagine that circle is a dog.”
Translation and storytelling have served me well over the years: from teaching nerdy high schoolers at an MIT summer camp, to dinner-table physics conversations with my dad, to making science relevant for at-risk students in rural Oregon.
Now, I am accessing the same toolkit to bridge the gap between the creative and the client, because as adverse as some creatives can be toward the perceived rigidity of the sciences, both operate in a world abstracted from our day-to-day experiences, with parsimony their holy grail.
The first branding project that I joined at Xische was for an internal data management and analysis system: the client had developed a complex and multi-tiered system for communicating data from a dozen or so committees and entities to the government’s executive council. The remit was to brand the entire program and to advise on a branding strategy for to-be-determined related initiatives down the road.
I found myself again in the role of translator: deciphering the scope and requirements from the client to present a clear story to our design team, then translating our design team’s process into a clear and compelling story for the client.
My colleagues would joke about the “quantum mechanics” of the client, while the client would allude to our “creative genius.” I became the bridge, using my background as a translator to bring the abstractions on both sides to a tangible middle ground.
Seems like I have traded the story of the boson for the story of the brand.