Why You Need a Brand Lab and a Wild-Eyed Mad Scientist

You’ve built your team from scratch. You’ve logged some painful hours on interviews, phone calls, and emails to bring them on board.

You’ve got bright, skilled, and pedigreed individuals for sure. But, have you truly set them up for success?

Creatives certainly aren’t a monolithic bunch. But from personal experience, I can tell you the best creative you have on your team should be encouraged to test their theories like a mad scientist.

Why?

Mad scientists are actually practitioners at heart. Their sleeves are rolled up ready and their hands are dirty. They are eager to do the hard work where stellar creativity and strategy converge.

The world is their lab—a place to beta test their grand ideas. True, they just might blow their fingers off, but mad scientists are brave (and crazy) enough to try new things and apply what they learn.

Mad scientists have the determination to move ideas from the laboratory to life. They will not quit until they’ve found the hidden formula, the answer they’ve been searching for. They will stay in the game (or lab), and keep testing, trying, and tweaking a concept until they make it work.

A few years ago, I read a book that confirmed an idea I had been chasing. The book, The Open Brand, articulated the key concepts of “openness” and authenticity in building an effective brand strategy. I was intrigued by the notion that organizations can and should invite the world to help shape their brand.

At the time, the theory was forward thinking, yet it seemed to be true enough. But—it still needed to be tested.

I pitched an “open brand” idea to a client, and thankfully, they saw the vision. So, we began beta testing The Open Brand’s principles in a very intentional and public way.

The project exploded . . . in the best possible way.

Now, not all my experiments have turned to gold. Some have simply imploded and fallen flat.

But here’s the point: The best creatives are just crazy enough to see the world as their lab. Mad scientists become fluid individuals in the process—learning how to handle highly combustible materials—things like client relationships, strategies, concepts, processes, and well, people, too.

So, the next time you interview someone for your team with that crazed look in his or her eye, don’t mistake it for anything other than determination. Give them a chance, then give them a lab and legit resources to create some craziness.

Have you ever hired a mad scientist? Or, are you your team’s resident practitioner? Share your story with us.

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