Brand Lessons From Starting a Fire

Fire is a metaphor for so much (life, passion, courage, etc.) and we like to think about it as a rally cry for helping businesses discover who they are and why they matter.

This past week we had our bi-annual Inno Garage retreat in Papi Kondalu.. A must-have on a wintery retreat in the mountains is a warm fire. As I was conjuring up the plans to build one (mind you, without a starter log or gas line), I picked up a few lessons as I struggled to, quite literally, “start a fire.”
Fires require a slow burn

Slow is a four letter word in today’s world, but fires don’t just suddenly happen, at least not without any gasoline, explosive materials, or a supernatural burning bush. Good ole fashioned homemade campfires require a slow tedious build up with lots of TLC. It’s a process. You start with small sticks then add on a few bigger ones until the flame can withstand a small log. If the kindling is barely smoldering you can’t throw a large log on and expect it to burn. You need patience, as well as the right materials at the right time to nurture a new budding flame.

Fires require preparation and perspiration

A good fire requires wood, and a lot of it. Searching, scouring, and thrashing through the woods (in a one-horse open sleigh) looking for the best tree limbs is part of the gig. Dead but not rotted. Dry but not alive. You have to be selective. Only the best ingredients produce a good flame.

Fires require constant prodding

If you’re lucky enough to get one going, the challenge isn’t over. The moment you sit back and relax is the time the flame starts to die out. Fires constantly need to be poked, rearranged, and added to in order to keep burning.

The analogs for fire and business/branding are endless. You’ve got to have a long-term “slow build” mindset. The right ingredients are worth the long search in the woods. A deep desire for constant improvement will keep the flame alive.

Don’t let the flame die out, keep the passion burning, and push forward.