I met David Freeman in Los Angeles. He and I were each speaking at a conference and, rather than fly back after my morning session, I stayed on that afternoon to hear what he had to say. I'm so glad I did.
David Freeman is a Hollywood "script guru" but also the creator of Beyond Structure, a seminar that helps writers create more emotionally riveting characters and dialog, Emotioneering, a similar concept for the gaming world, and the thing that captured my interest that day in Los Angeles; the Character Diamond.
A Character Diamond is a tool for developing more engaging characters in movies and novels. Writers should develop a Character Diamond for each character in their script. Each point on the diamond (at least three, but no more than five) represents a distinct character trait--together they define the essence of the character. Those characteristics determine a character's words and actions. Does the character possess a wry wit? Then their words should reflect it. Are they self-conscious and lacking self-esteem? Then, perhaps, they should look down and kick the dirt when they speak. The Character Diamond is a filter that shapes the characters words and actions.
While David intended the Character Diamond as a tool for authors, I saw a tool for branding and, in particular, identifying affiliation networks that may lead you to effective marketing tactics.
Writers often say that once they develop a character they need only follow them around their imagination while carefully cataloging the things they say and do. They ask, "what would the character do in this situation?" If you personify your brand you may be able to do the same thing and, in the process, identify your best customer's demographics, psychographics, and behaviors.
Try creating a Character Diamond for your brand. If your brand was a person, what 3-5 character traits would define the essence of its personality? Be precise. Be honest. Don't assign aspirational qualities. Instead write about the reality of your brand from the consumer's perspective. List the good and the bad. People are a mixture of positive and negative qualities. Your brand is no different. Remember to describe the qualities in human terms because we are trying to personify it.
Once you've defined your brand's Character Diamond, study it and answer some questions. Where would this person live? In the country? The Suburbs? Would they have a trendy loft apartment? A mobile home? What are their hobbies? What organizations would they join? What books would they read? What TV shows would they watch? Would they watch TV at all? Describe their friends? Their lover. Their enemies.
Follow your character (brand) around your imagination to see where it goes, what it does, and who it associates with. Capture the results as if you were a writer. Since people tend to associate with similar others, by mapping your brand's behavior you may have also mapped your consumer's. Try writing a marketing plan designed to reach your brand and you may end up with a plan perfectly suited for reaching your customers. Spread the fire. GS