An Inukshuk is your brand’s silent messenger.

Growing up, I recall the cold visages of winter in Michigan.

Steel, monochromic skies forced me to remain inside watching the warm colors of the crackling fire in the hearth. Eventually, cabin fever would set in – specially mid-February- when there wasn’t a blade of grass in sight. I’d be forced to don 3 layers of tights and socks, hand-me-down long underwear, a hideous black snowmobile suit with a pair of matching masculine snowmobile boots, scarf, gloves, and mittens (yes, both!) and a ski-hat. I looked like a tick that was about to pop.

Near the barn where it was quiet, I’d lay on my back in the snow swinging my arms and legs like a wooden marionette doll, leaving an iconic trace of my version of a snow angel. With my face to the sky, I’d imagine the cirrus clouds above were a warm sandy beach waiting for me to leave my transient mark with bare feet.

We all enjoy leaving our marks behind, believing we can add mystery beyond the mundane.

Some marks are more permanent and symbolic.

And no more permanent are those created by the Inuit -native people who reside within the circumpolar region of our Earth. While I was visting Canada a few years ago, I grew to understand more about the community of Inuit.

I learned that the Inuit built symbolic landmarks call Inukshuks (pronounced IN-OOK-SHOOK) meaning “in the image of man.” Inukshuks are silent messengers of the Arctic. Magnificent lifelike figures of stone which were erected by the Inuit throughout the Millennia, they stand along Canada’s most northern shores, and are unique to the Canadian arctic.

Moving into the third Millennium, they also stand as eternal symbols of leadership, encouraging the importance of friendship, and reminding us of our dependence on one another.

Originally, Inukshuks were built as landmarks to aid in navigation.

Acting in the place of a human messenger, the structures support survival, giving direction and leadership to all who pass them on the vast, featureless tundra of the great Arctic. The Inukshuks are a nuanced, complex, and a vital form of communication. They were traditionally used by the Inuit to help in hunting Caribou. From a distance, these landmarks resembled a human form, and were built of large stones, placed in lines on the top of hills on either side of a narrow valley. Other similar stone structures were objects of honor, indicating places of power or the home of spirits.

In the Baffin region, the traditional meaning of an Inukshuk has to do with direction.

An Inukshuk on land with two arms and legs means there is a valley, and at the end of the valley, you are able to go in two directions. The same Inukshuk near the sea means there is a channel, and at the end of the channel, you will be able to go in two directions. An Inukshuk on land with no arms, but both legs, means one-way passage. The same Inukshuk by the sea means there is a channel that allows for a one-way passage. An Inukshuk with no arms and legs is simply a guide for a hunter in unknown territory.

 

An Inukshuk on land with two arms and legs means there is a valley, and at the end of the valley, you are able to go in two directions. The same Inukshuk near the sea means there is a channel, and at the end of the channel, you will be able to go in two directions.

An Inukshuk on land with no arms, but both legs, means one-way passage. The same Inukshuk by the sea means there is a channel that allows for a one-way passage.

An Inukshuk with no arms and legs is simply a guide for a hunter in unknown territory.

Today, the Inukshuk has been adopted as a symbol to remind us of our dependence on each other. It says, “I’ve been here before and you’re on the right path.”

My favorite directional arrangement are the deconfusers.

Deconfusers are windows framing significant places. As you peer through the framed window that resides inside the rock figure, you’ll see an additional formation of rocks simply lined that lead you on a path to the heart of a community.

Today, the Inukshuk has been adopted as a symbol to remind us of our dependence on each other. It says, “I’ve been here before and you’re on the right path.”

Like the Inukshuk, your logo and brand are your silent messengers when you’re not around. Because you cannot be everyplace at once, your identity continues to speak to others, informing them of your company’s position, products, or services. A consistent direction is vital to your identity and your position in the marketplace. When you know your positioning, only then can you defy the monochromic marks of your competitors.

This is where Lisa emerges as your guide, as your deconfuser for your company’s identity. When you need assistance on your journey of brand positioning, contact Lisa.

As the Inukshuk remind us, we’ve been here before and you’re on the right path.

Until next time, keep building!

Cheers, Lisa