Pica pica


10 November 2016 : Pica #zero

Ideas with wings.

Pica pica, Eurasian Magpie

Why did I choose the scientific name of a black and white bird for this blog?

Some of my earliest memories are of infant me and my mum, in the garden, feeding birds of assorted species. The magpies were my favourite. I liked their size, large but not intimidating like the seagulls. The way they bounced around the lawn like kangaroos amused me. Their appearance was elegant with that long tail and stylishly monochrome plumage with a flash of iridescence.

But growing up I was told that magpies are feathered kleptomaniacs, attracted to sparkly things. I learnt a nursery rhyme about magpies with the first line; “One for sorrow”. My own eyes saw them butcher and consume the chicks of birds they shared the garden with and also they can be terribly noisy. So I ended up becoming ambivalent towards the magpie.

More recently I discovered that, in China, they are considered omens of good fortune and the Chinese word for magpie begins with the character that means “happiness”. In Korea they are associated with luck and prosperity. While in Sweden, the magpie is associated with witchcraft and in most of eastern Europe it is believed to be a cunning and thievish brute.

Today, fifty years from the formation of those earliest memories I have decided I love magpies. Having spent all my adult life trying to make the brands I have worked for more attractive, I know that the image of anything, a magpie or a brand, can be multifaceted and geographically heterogenous, with attributed aspects, good and bad, that have no foundation in the truth or it’s inherent attributes. The magpie hasn’t controlled it’s brand and has suffered damage to its image, in my opinion unjustly. The art of brand building, which is the subject of this blog, also has attributed aspects, good and bad, that have no foundation in the truth or it’s inherent attributes. It’s image is damaged also and in my opinion for the wrong reasons.

In this blog I want to write about what is valuable in brand building and what is false and damaging, drawing on news and trending topics in the industry as inspiration. The choice of Pica pica for a name? The noun for a group of magpies is a tiding and my hope is that the individual pieces of this blog will be strong ideas, with wings to go far, that collectively they become good tidings for those who choose to read them.

Next > "The case for Co-creation."

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