For the last 21 years I have been privy to the tone-und-style diktats of some the largest brands in the known universe.

These brand guidelines or style guidelines or brand documents, as they have been variously and unimaginatively called, were written by some of the most august, venerable touts of branding in the world - great names writing about great names hoping to make a still greater name for themselves.

There was a common denominator in almost all of these documents.
They specified that the brand voice must be Approachable.


Which moron wrote that?
Has there been a commercial venture since the beginning of time that wanted to be unapproachable?

Approachability has been the core of every act of commerce, from the oldest profession in the world to the youngest. Approachability is about what makes you friendly (don't get me started on that word!) and accessible.
Anyone who is selling anything wants to be friendly and accessible.
Butchers. Bakers. Candlestick makers.
Whores. Priests. Doctors. Clairvoyants. Snake oil salesmen. Arms dealers. Pushers.
They all want you to be able to find them, and, having found them, to like the experience of dealing with them enough to want to come back for more.
(There are exceptions and we will come to those another time.)

A pedestrian crossing is approachable.
A pedestrian crossing is also, well, pedestrian.

copyright 2006 Gavin Barrett All rights reserved

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