Show all episodes

Developing a Belief System for Brands

An interview with
Patrick Hanlon


According to this weeks guest, brands that thrive are those with the highest quality communities, and to attract members to that community companies should work to develop belief systems. But how can they do that?

In this episode Ian interviews Patrick Hanlon, author of Primal Branding, and founder of the agency of the same name to discover the 7 key components that help to create, drive and sustain a belief system.

Patrick Hanlon Interview Transcription

Ian Paget: In your Ted Talk you started by stating that branding today has evolved. Could you share with us what it was previously, and what it’s become now?

Patrick Hanlon: I think that brands have been curious creatures, haven’t they? Brands are really like moulding fog, is something I’ve said in the past. If you ask a hundred people what a brand is, you get a hundred different answers.

Is that a paradox? Because in advertising and marketing everything else has a number. We have sales goals. We have awareness goals and so forth, but when it comes to the most important thing that we’re trying to achieve, a brand, there was really no sort of structure for how to do it, other than by imitation. So we look at brands that we all know and love, like Apple, Nike, and Starbucks and you basically imitate them. Years ago people were talking about the Apple tribes or the Apple cult, and Nike tribes, and no one really knew how to do that, other than imitating them.

So I had a problem, first of all I’m not an academic, I’m not a journalist, I’m a practitioner, and I worked in advertising, marketing and branding in Manhattan for years in big brands, famous brands. I had a problem with a client and I started to think about it in reverse. I started to think, why do we believe in some products and services and not in others? That led me to really deconstructing what brands were all about.

More episodes like this



Archetypes in Branding


Kaye Putnam



A Guide to Brand Naming


Rob Meyerson