Does Your Brand Balance Head and Heart?

Marketers can balance data and creativity with the Intelligent Brand Framework

In 2010 Google ran a Super Bowl ad titled, “A Romance in Search” about a long distance love affair played out in search phrases, starting with “study abroad in Paris” and culminating with a search for “How to Assemble a Crib.” The commercial was a breakout moment for the brand to balance its reliance on data-driven search with the emotional and personal impact of searching for everything needed to pursue love and a future life together.

As @gabriellepomay tweeted: “was watching the superbowl (coincidentally as an American girl in Paris ) and this made me cry!! Best ad of the whole superbowl!”

The application of data to marketing is far more effective when you recognize that true brand intelligence lives at the intersection of both head and heart, where the emotional self meets the analytic self, noted Andrew Frank, research vice president, Gartner for Marketing Leaders.

The Intelligent Brand Framework Explained

Gartner’s Intelligent Brand Framework helps you identify your brand’s power center, while ensuring balance and agility across disciplines for more holistic digital marketing. The framework helps in three ways:

  • Identify your company’s (or product line’s) preferred quadrant so you can assess strengths and weaknesses
  • Understand which approaches tend to work best in which situations, so you can be more agile and deliberate in your campaign planning
  • Observe and highlight the benefits of different approaches to make your organization more balanced and adaptive over time


Across the quadrants, the Intelligent Brand Framework is the foundation for:

Observation – Focus groups, surveys and ethnographic research reveal key audience insights. P&G used these techniques to understand what customers are doing before and after they use a P&G product, revealing what they truly want and need.

Engagement – Marketers engage in social interactions to put a human face on the brand. Domino’s Pizza let customers place orders by tweeting a pizza emoji to the restaurant.

Inspiration – Use gamification, crowdsourcing, natural-language processing and collaboration to tap into the collective intelligence of people. IBM runs crowdsourced idea and innovation sessions that encourage grassroots contributions.

Automation – Use data to target experiences and analytics to close the loop. Nike created personalized, animated films for 100,000 users using data from their Nike+ platform.

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How to Use the Intelligent Brand Framework

Take stock
Reflect on your collective capabilities as a marketing organization. What is your power center? Which quadrant represents your true competitive advantage by virtue of capabilities, culture and organizational maturity? Then assess where you are weakest. Identify organizational liabilities. Then inventory your capabilities and investments in each quadrant to develop a picture of your current-state brand intelligence.

Take action
Outline your plans to close the gap between current and desired state and leverage your power center while cultivating other skills to achieve more balance. Use the Framework to proactively guide strategic investments.

Ultimately, the Intelligent Brand Framework is designed to provide a structure for assessing marketing investments across creative and operational disciplines using both data-driven and human-centric approaches.

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