As you all know, the modern corporation is incentivized to kill us. The lash of short term profits and delivering increasing returns for already rich shareholders leads to decisions that are slowly crushing our planet and our souls.
But hang on a minute, the exact opposite thing is happening with the brands these same corporations make. Unlike the corporations, today’s brands can’t think short term. They have to form long term partnerships with the increasingly meaning-seeking consumers who buy them.
Brands vs The Corporations who make them. It’s the ultimate post-capitalism meta smack down!
Here’s a dirty little secret for corporations to think about: consumers are alsohumans. It’s true, we checked! And on this swiftly tilting, quickly heating, over-crowded planet, humans want brands to not only make a difference in their lives but to help them on their journey to the top of the pyramid, self-actualization.
This is the path to Spiritual Branding.
1) Do Well by Doing Good. Brands on this path are changing the world for the better. From simple sustainability initiatives, living wage programs, healthier manufacturing, smarter sourcing to flat out standing up for what’s right (AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson — nice one!), it’s the path of the enlightened to take the marketing money and do something good. The world doesn’t really need another shelf talker, buy one get one free offer, or supermega-20-pack of anything. But good? Yes, it can always use that.Consumers agree! And, bonus, Smart Brands are doing it for profit. And here.
2) Promote Intentional Consumption. The biggest angst most of us have is caused by the cesspit of marketing messages. Thousands of times a day, all day long, every year of our lives, we are told that something is missing. We will not feel whole until we have purchased that something. Then we consume that thing, and it doesn’t fix us. Spiritual brands add to the human conversation, treat people like they are complete and grow because of it.
3) Build Brand Culture from the Inside Out. Why is the most over-used word, authenticity, become so meaningful? Because humans know other humans who work for, with or around your brand, product or company. Every brand says they’re awesome. Yet, the actual experience people have with a brand might be far from that. Wells Fargo anyone? If you’re not putting as much effort into getting your own people to find real meaning into the endeavor that is your brand, it’s that much harder to get anyone else.
4) The Embodied Presence of Interdependence. Everything is connected. From the macro idea that all things are just different faces of Consciousness to the everyday reality of your supply chain, your reputation, your employees, your customers, your cleaning crew and your planet, all things are connected and interdependent. Make decisions that embody this truth and good will flow.
5) The Slow Return. You’ve heard of the slow food movement? Spiritual brands pay more attention to the long term then they do to the next quarter. We’re all guilty of the “we’re not making our numbers” panic-slash-and-burn- desperation -BOGOF to please the revenue gods. But this should be the exception to how brands act and not the rule. Build something, stand for something, act inherently valuable, take a deep breath and create a better environment for your outcomes to grow and prosper.
Have anything to add to this list? Hit me up firstname.lastname@example.org