Brand Dancing Tips

Brand Dancing is about branding’s strange alchemy. Great brands have a Merlin tuning, tweaking and listening. The “strange alchemy” comes from blending internal vision, purpose and authenticity with external perception, feedback and perception. Many say brands happen “out there” in the world.

Yes and brands happen in an entrepreneur’s or team’s dream.

Who comes first external perception or internal “push away from the dock” actions? Who knows. Ideas and brands have different ways of using time. Chronologically Google’s founders started a company. This action might indicate entrepreneur dreams, beliefs and process precedes external feedback.

Yes, and what is a brand without it’s audience?

Trees may fall in the forest and make a sound with no one there to hear, but those noises don’t “ding the universe”. We ding universe, to quote Steve Jobs, when, almost immediately after birth, our ideas dance with customers. When together we create more than either could alone branding is happening at it’s highest level.

Customers complete the art of branding as’s recent How To Find Your Brand’s Untold Story shares. Thanks to our friend Cendrine Marrouat from for sharing this excellent post.

Brand Dancing graphic

Brand Dancing

How To Find Your Brand’s Untold Story blends the American Dance Institute’s vision, creative process and customer feedback to arrive at a new relevance. Relevance is slippery. The moment you think you know all there is to know about your brands your hubris is sinks your brand.

Hubris happens.

Digital marketing teaches many great life lessons. One of the most important lesson is the taint of our perceptions. Brands are collaborations between US and THEM, between “internal” minds, visions and ideas and external perceptions, feedback and ideas. The goal is always the same – move toward a seamless US.

The ZEN of brand building is knowing we will NEVER fully integrate outside and inside. Our faith in a journey whose destination can’t be reached requires “dancing logic”. Dancers practice, work and move toward an ideal they can inch toward but will never reach. And their process is instructive.

Dancers, no matter how skilled or experienced, work on fundamentals AND flying through the air. Fundamentals make flying through the air possible. Here are a brand building fundamentals many forget to practice:

  • DEEP Listening.
  • Confirmation and evolution with attribution.
  • Yes And instead of No But Brand THinking.

Social Media: It’s The conversation, stupid – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Deep Listening

Does your brand have empathy? Track your shares. Are you sharing great content from others, i.e. are you curating more content than you create? Curating content takes many forms. This post is a form of curation. We are building upon a great post by

Building on the ideas of others is empathetic and a great example of “deep listening”. Brands must master the art and science of “digital listening” in our mobile / social / connected time. Many brands DO NOT UNDERSTAND how their marketing has and is changing.

Most “big brands” understand the old ways are gone, but they are loathe to embrace the conversational nature of today’s marketing. When a brand follows back a tiny % of their followers they say more about their beliefs than they know. Brands profess, on the one hand, to care about customers and on the other follow 2% of their followers. We are all smart enough to see such glaring brand dissonance now. Such dissonance says one very strong and painful brand truth – the brand isn’t listening and so by extension doesn’t care.

How did following back become a marker for “digital listening”? Who knows and it doesn’t matter. Brands who embrace the two-way conversations happening now follow back, curate customer content with attribution and change their EGO from Master Creators to Great Listeners and Collaborators.


When your brand SHARES content created by others with attribution (always) and permission (when possible) the strongest, “We are listening, and we care,” signal is sent and received. Make no mistake. The “new audience” can parse more information faster and in more ways than ever.

YOU cannot “correct” brand dissonance. You can listen, confirm, collaborate and evolve your vision, mission and brand to bring it in line as the American Dance Institute did in the’s post. Brands dance between US and THEM, so to strong-arm a brand to a preconceived set of values, beliefs or ideals denies the collaboration necessary to create sustainable brands.

Dissonance gets better with confirmation not rebuttal.

Creating a process to collaborate, combine and evolve your “brand thinking” like the process defined in the post is the key. Conversation, warts and all not denial, is the magic so available now thanks to social and digital media. Having the courage to confirm and collaborate…well those characteristics are rare.

Many treat brands with kid gloves. They don’t want to “break” them when, in all likelihood, they are already broken. Anyone who believes they are so in control of their brand they can “not break it” is forgetting the first rule of branding – brands are collaborations between US and THEM.


Yes and Book image

Yes And…
The hardest thing for brand managers to recognize and incorporate is the validity of THEIR brand perceptions. When you spend millions to create a certain impression, let’s call this desired impression X, and you get a different read Y have you failed or succeeded. Many brand managers will define dissonance between their desired communication and its reception as failure. They will double down to FORCE their ideas.

Don’t do that (lol). Use the rules of improvisation as defined in the book Yes And… from Second City Works:

  • Agree.
  • Say Yes, and
  • Make STATEMENTS don’t just ask questions.
  • Never “Mistakes” Only Opportunities.
  • Stay Positive, Learn to Adapt.

Thanks to for summarizing Tina Fey’s take on the rules of improvisation. Google “rules of improv” and buy 2nd City’s Yes And… book if you would like to read more about how to blend the rules of improv into a successful workplace in the world or in cyberspace.