Monday, March 23, 2015

Profit Is My Purpose

Dit artikel staat ook op de blog van BR-ND  

We gebruiken in het brand marketing vak veel begrippen die nogal verwarrend zijn voor niet-ingewijdenen. En bovendien hebben veel termen nogal wat overlap in hun betekenis. De laatste jaren hebben een aantal mooie nieuwe termen ons vak verder verrijkt. Ik heb het hier specifiek over de ontwikkeling dat organisaties steeds vaker aandacht geven aan hun positieve maatschappelijke rol. Ik heb het over begrippen als 'Purpose', 'Why' (Uit de Gouden Cirkel van Simon Sinek), 'High Ideals' (van Jim Stengel) of de Social Mission van Unilever.

Voor het gemak vat ik al die woorden in dit artikel samen onder de term 'Purpose', waarmee ik het dan heb over het maatschappelijke bestaansdoel van een organisatie. 

Steeds meer bedrijven proberen zich te profileren met hun Purpose. In een traject dat wij onlangs hebben gedaan voor Natuurmonumenten hebben we ontdekt dat de Purpose vooral erom gaat dat alle Nederlanders, ieder op zijn eigen wijze, kunnen genieten van de natuur. Dat is belangrijk, want als je van de natuur geniet, ga je het waarderen en beschermen. Of voor het GVB, het vervoersbedrijf van Amsterdam, waar de Purpose gaat over het leven van alle mensen in Amsterdam plezieriger te maken. Iedereen moet zich snel en goedkoop door de stad kunnen verplaatsen. Dat is belangrijk voor de leefbaarheid in de stad. Nog een voorbeeld waar ik aan moet denken is Tenzing Travel (voorheen Kuoni), een verre reizen specialist, waar de Purpose gaat over het leven van mensen te verrijken met bijzondere ervaringen en herinneringen. Of Triodos Bank met als Purpose om geld te gebruiken voor positieve sociale, leefomgeving en culturele veranderingen.  

Wat me opvalt is dat de meeste Purpose beschrijvingen heel emotioneel zijn en gaan over iets fundamenteels wat je je klanten wilt bieden vanuit een visie die je als organisatie hebt. Purpose is daarbij van een andere orde dan de traditionele 'positionering', waarbij vooral gezocht werd naar iets relevants waarmee een merk zich kon differentiëren ten opzichte van concurrerende merken. Bij het zoeken en verwoorden van Purpose is 'onderscheid' minder relevant en gaat het veel meer om een hogere missie om iets te veranderen in de maatschappij. Het gaat vaak over hoe je waarde toevoegt aan het leven van mensen of een misstand waar je een oplossing voor wilt bieden. Voor dienstverleners als het GVB of Natuurmonumenten ligt de Purpose dicht bij het bestaansdoel van de organisatie. Maar voor productmerken is de uitdaging om de Purpose te vinden meestal veel groter. Maar ook daar zijn vele mooie voorbeelden te vinden van een aansprekende Purpose. Ik heb bijvoorbeeld aan het eind van het vorige millenium bij de Iams Petfood Company (toen P&G, nu onderdeel van Mars) gewerkt en daar ging het toen al over 'saving the worlds dog and cat population'. Want dieren die gewone en goedkope industriële voeding eten, worden vaker ziek en leven minder lang.

Interessant is dat de opkomst van Purpose paralel loopt met de groei van MVO (maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen) ook wel genoemd duurzaam ondernemen. Vanuit de OESO zijn richtlijnen opgesteld waar bedrijven aan moeten gaan voldoen.
Definitie van duurzaam ondernemen is "Duurzaam Ondernemen is bij alle bedrijfsbeslissingen zowel een hoger bedrijfsrendement nastreven, als de kansen benutten voor een beter milieu en meer welzijn van de medewerkers en de maatschappij. Het gaat om activiteiten die een stap verder gaan dan waartoe de wet verplicht; vanuit maatschappelijke betrokkenheid en een toekomstgerichte visie".

Naarmate het fenomeen duurzaam ondernemen het afgelopen decennium bekendheid heeft gekregen, gaan consumenten en medewerkers het belang ervan inzien en gaan ze voorkeur krijgen voor organisaties met een duidelijk MVO beleid. Internationale schrijvers als Roy Spence (It's not what you sell, it's what you stand for) en Simon Mainwaring (We First: The future of profit is purpose) maken deze koppeling heel duidelijk. De transparante wereld waarin we leven versterkt dit in hoge mate. Organisaties die een heldere Purpose hebben en duurzaam ondernemen hebben de toekomst. Denk maar eens aan de spectaculaire groei en merkvoorkeur van Tesla. Of aan Starbucks waar Howard Schultz zich in het openbaar hard maakt voor gelijke rechten voor alle rassen en geaardheden. 

Het grote voordeel van het uitdragen van en handelen naar een Purpose die mensen gelukkig maakt, is dat het bepaald geen windeieren legt. In diverse studies is aangetoond dat bedrijven met een heldere Purpose veel winstgevender zijn. Diverse wetenschappers zoals bijvoorbeeld Raj Sisodia et all. hebben hier onderzoek naar gedaan. Bedrijven die niet de 'share of wallet' strategie maar de 'share of heart' strategie volgen en daardoor warme emotionele relaties met gelukkige klanten opbouwen, renderen beduidend beter. Het is opmerkelijk dat hier wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar gedaan wordt, want je zou toch mogen verwachten dat bedrijven die er op gericht zijn het geld van klanten af te pakken, niet de voorkeur hebben. En bedrijven die klanten en de maatschappij willen helpen en waarde willen toevoegen, de voorkeur. Maar omdat we in een kapitalistisch systeem leven waarin geld verdienen het ultieme doel is, is het klaarblijkelijk nodig om aan te tonen dat 'goed doen' een betere strategie is dan 'slecht doen'. Ook in financiële termen. 

Samenvattend denk ik dat we heel gelukkig moeten zijn met de opkomst van het Purpose denken binnen ons vakgebied. Immers, als wij onze creativiteit en kennis louter inzetten om onze klanten meer te laten verkopen, dan zorgen we voor en zijn we mede verantwoordelijk voor verdere verloedering van de commercie en afbraak van de maatschappij. Een wereld waarin iedereen gedreven is door meer geld is bepaald geen mooie en gelukkige wereld.
Ik denk na aan de woede overal in de maatschappij, die deze week weer opstak na de belachelijke salarisverhogingen van de leiders van de ING en ABNAMRO. Ik vraag me af wat hun Purpose is en geloof dat het Profit is.
23 Maart 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Eerlijke Marketing Een Illusie?

Article also published on the blog of BR-ND | Emotive Transformers

Een artikel van Madelon Engels deed mij denken over de vraag of marketing eigenlijk nog wel ethisch is. In een wereld waarin het steeds meer draait om geld verdienen en waarbij alles daartoe gerechtvaardigd lijkt, weliswaar binnen de wet, kom je er dan nog als je gewoon 'eerlijk' wilt zijn? 
'De manier waarop marketing wordt bedreven, staat mij steeds meer tegen'
Ik herken dat maar al te goed. Niet alleen hoe marketing bedreven wordt, maar ik zet steeds vaker vraagtekens bij de manier hoe veel organisaties hun bedrijfsvoering inrichten en met mensen omgaan. Ik vraag me af wat het doel is van al die bedrijven, anders dan geld verdienen? Gelukkig zijn er steeds meer leiders van bedrijven en ondernemers die zich dat ook beginnen af te vragen. Is het een filosofische reflectie over het nut der dingen die met de jaren komt? Of zijn we in de maatschappij echt zo ver afgegleden dat geld en macht de enige echte maatstaf van succes is? 

De transparantie zet door en we worden via sociale media dagelijks geconfronteerd met alle oneerlijke praktijken. We komen er achter dat geraffineerde suiker de grote boosdoener is voor veel gezondheidsproblemen. Dankzij Tony Chocolony weten dat er slaafvrije en foute chocolade is. We weten dat er in frietjes van McDonalds een soort siliconen zitten die ook wordt gebruikt in borstimplantaten, speelgoedblubber, haarconditioners en andere cosmetica. Dat Primark kleding in derde sweatshops door kinderen laat maken. Dat Monsanto inmiddels de wereld zaadmarkt in handen heeft waardoor al onze voeding genetisch gemanipuleerd is. Dat BlueBand margarine volledig bestaat uit chemisch-synthetische transvetten en kunstmatige additieven met nagenoeg geen enkele voedingswaarde. We weten dat de witteboordencriminaliteit floreert, de bankiers van de RABO, ABNAMRO en ING graaiende zakkenvullers zijn, we weten van de derivaten fraude bij woningcorporaties als Vestia en we weten van frauderende accountants van KPNG. We weten dat Facebook onze privacy niet serieus neemt en we kennen het sustainable living plan van Unilever en weten dat ze kleine verdachte bolletjes in hun Lipton thee stoppen. 

Afgelopen week was ik te gast bij de Art Directors Club Nederland voor het debat over reclame met inhoud en wat houdt reclame tegenwoordig nog in. Behalve dat het een stimulerende avond was met een levendige discussie bleef bij mij toch vooral hangen dat het reclamevak behoorlijk in verval is. 
'Wiens brood met eet, wiens woord men spreekt'
De teneur was dat reclame toch vooral de producten en diensten van adverteerders moet zien te verkopen. Het succes van campagnes wordt gemeten aan de hand van rendement. De reclamemakers hebben geen eigen maatschappelijk doel en opereren vooral uitvoerend en afhankelijk van de wensen van hun klant. Tegen de klant ingaan is moeilijk omdat de relatie schade oploopt en loyaliteit ver te zoeken is. Opdrachtgevers hoppen van het ene specialistische bureau naar het andere bureau. Wat heeft het vak nog te bieden aan getalenteerde visionaire kunstenaars als ook hier geld de macht heeft gegrepen? 

Gelukkig is er ook positief nieuws. Ondergronds borrelt er van alles. Veel mensen zijn teleurgesteld door de praktijken van de grote bedrijven. Ze willen dat het verandert. Er ontstaan allerlei kantelbewegingen. Mensen gaan zelf weer het initiatief nemen. Ze willen niet langer wachten tot het 'van bovenaf' verandert. Er ontstaat een tegenbeweging. Een bank als Triodos voelt dat goed aan en ze wakkeren dat sentiment verder op. Het moet en kan anders. Het biedt kansen voor ondernemerschap. Afzetten tegen de grote mastodonten die vastzitten in hun winstbejag. Denk maar eens aan supermarktketen MARQT en haar streven om ons weer écht te laten eten. Of aan reclamebureau Lemz dat met haar pro-sociale bestaansdoel probeert aan te zetten tot positief gedrag.  

Waar het om lijkt te gaan is dat zodra geld het handelingsperspectief is, er allerlei perverse prikkels ontstaan. Allerlei oneerlijke praktijken. Joris Luyendijk vertelt over hoe de financiële wereld in London weer is teruggekeerd naar de praktijken van voor de financiële crisis. De verleiders met hun voorstelling 'Door de bank genomen' maken met hun gitzwarte humor duidelijk dat de financiële wereld echt om te lachen is als het gelijktijdig niet zo schrijnend zou zijn. 

Als geld niet het doel is, wat dan wel? Dit is de uitdaging waar Kim Cramer PhD en ik ons de laatste jaren bij BR-ND steeds vaker mee bezighouden voor onze opdrachtgevers. Wat is een doel groot en inspirerend genoeg om aan te zetten tot positief eerlijk gedrag? Tot gedrag dat zorgt voor gelukkige klanten en medewerkers. En nog belangrijker, hoe zorg je er voor dat zo'n doel niet blijft hangen in de bestuurskamer, maar door iedereen wordt ervaren als inspirerend, belangrijk en de moeite waard. Wil je meer over 'emotive branding' weten, aarzel dan niet ons uit te nodigen voor een gesprek.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Not Money But Purpose Stupid

Are we in business for the money? Are the numbers more important than the purpose? Are humans a means for production? Is all we do justified by the bottom line? Are brands mere constructs to sell more? Since when did business forget we are human? 

These questions came to me while working recently for one of the largest charity foundations in the Netherlands. In their case, for two decades seeking funds became the main driver for success. Connection with society and internal passion for their good cause eroded gradually.

Also I observe that many organisations, such as larger medical institutions, are increasingly managed by their numbers. And by doing so, their dependency from the insurance financials is on the rise. In fact, in organisations where you would least expect to find a dominant financial and operational focus, nowadays it seems the contrary. This weekend I spoke with the head nurse of a large academic hospital in Amsterdam and she confirmed my suspicion that employee morale has never been lower. Her patients have turned into numbers and production is their deliverable. Also I recently discussed with a leader of a world famous medical institute in tropical disease, with a wealth of knowledge and employing practical programs actually saving lives in third world countries. Also in this case, it is money that drives the thinking with the consequence that morale is seriously in the black.

Increasingly I hear that people employed by these kind of organisations cannot cope any longer. They have lost their purpose, pleasure and flow. They are frustrated and suffer from stress. Sick leave is on the rise and burnouts are common. There seems to be a structural problem. How can suppressed culture and empathically neglected coworkers ever be successful?

How can a brand shine and attract customers if the people are down? How can customers be happy if the employees are depressed? Let's not forget that in a transparant world, people are the brand. Their morale, expressions and behaviour determines how the brand feels,  not the communication or the visual design. From a psychological and behavioural point of view, it is naive to expect financial focus to lead to positive behaviour. People are highly emotional creatures and abstract numbers and performance indicators are meaningless, when it boils down to inspiration and motivation.

What's your purpose?

“Purpose is not just about social purpose, although a desire to improve the wellbeing of others is a characteristic of many entrepreneurial businesses. It means having a clear reason to exist that is above and beyond the pursuit of profit. It might be a desire to change how people live their lives or carry out their work; a desire to tackle a social ill or perceived inequality; or simply a desire to entertain, amuse and bring joy.” Maria Pinelli VP EY in Huffington Post

Although numbers are important to measure performance, it is by far not sufficient te create a happy workplace and reputation. It might even be counterproductive. That is why successful organisations embrace a compelling purpose. Something big and important enough to strive for and enjoy the rewards. Such companies have their purpose at the very core of their business.

It makes the difference between the one GVB tram conductor who sees his job as to sit his shift from nine to five by checking if all passengers payed their fees, and his colleague who smiles friendly upon entry, greets me happily and points out that I still have some shaving foam on my left earlobe. And he wishes me a happy day upon my point of arrival. 
Spring Gentian
Purpose makes the difference between a forester who gives trespassers a penalty if they walk outside the official tracks and his colleague, who takes people along into the bush off the beaten track to show them a flowering field of wild spring gentians.

In short, we cannot create attractive brands, favourable reputation and happy people, without an emotive purpose. So we must insist from our clients that they are willing to invest serious time and money in discovering their purpose and translating this into action. If purpose remains lip service and money the sole business driver, than all our efforts are meaningless.

The collective quest for purpose is the start of creating a happy workforce with attractive brands and high customer satisfaction. The money will follow, in that order please.
Do you also want a purpose driven brand? Click here to see which organisations we have helped with creating a purpose driven brand. We are at your service.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

BR-ND HEARTBEATS

Because it is Valentine’s Day today, we share with you our Heartbeats. These are the things we vigorously believe in, what drives our behavior, brand thinking and culture. We did not invent our Heartbeats overnight; they literally grew upon us over the last couple years.
  1. We always experiment with newness
  2. Action deserves to be celebrated
  3. Knowledge is for all
  4. We are free to live our own life
  5. Sports keeps up healthy, happy and inspired
  6. We love warm lunches
  7. Everybody is welcome
  8. We don’t take ourselves too serious
  9. If you look closely, beauty is everywhere
  10. Think emotive

We always experiment with newness.

We love new ideas, new technologies, new thinking. We believe we can only develop ourselves if we are constantly prepared to embrace new ways. We see our company as a playground for creative thinking. Because we are curious creatures.
Action deserves to be celebrated. 
Everything what happens is the result of our own actions. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail. Sometimes it is not clear what it might lead to. But whatever we do, it takes courage to take action. And we just love to throw a party to share what we do. Because we are party animals.
Knowledge is for all.
We are a small organisation with a limited client base. Our science based knowledge, methods and tools can only make an impact if we share it with like-minded people around the world. Because giving is all we have.
We are free to live our own life.We believe in personal responsibility. Our personal and working life is intertwined and we see our co-workers as our friends. That’s why we don’t have fixed holidays or working hours. That’s also why we are picky in the people and organisations we aspire working with and for. Because we have one life to live.
Sports keeps up healthy, happy and inspired.Our co-founders are sporty people. Kim used to be a semi-professional dancing queen. Alexander is a skiing instructor and long distance runner. Without sufficient physical activity we don’t feel sharp. That’s why we encourage people to train. That’s why we organize our weekly bootcamp. And why we run for charity together. Because everybody with a body is an athlete.
We love warm lunches.
We believe that eating together creates social bonds. The typical Dutch sandwich with milk isnot our idea of a hospitable lunch. Kim’s roots are in Indonesia, that’s why we love nasi goreng for lunch or even for breakfast. Alexander lived many years in Indonesia and Italy and simply loves warm lunches. And fortunately there are so many wonderful restaurants in Amsterdam.
Everybody is welcome.We are a warm open place for people who share our interest in people, beauty and technology. Just for a coffee or sometimes for more, you are most welcome. And when we are too busy, we will let you know. Because we love hospitality.
We don’t take ourselves too serious.We do not aspire expensive cars, fancy suits or exquisite watches. In the end, the only thing what really matters is a caring relationship with one’s beloved ones, friends and our community. Because we are ordinary people and we are proud of that.
If you look closely, beauty is everywhere.People are capable of tremendous things if they have a purpose, if they can be part of something bigger. We beautify the world by bringing meaning to the forefront. Because meaning is where the actions starts.
Think emotive.We play, game and shake people on a creative leap. We believe in a co-creative approach where we all matter and have a voice. We show we care. We surprise people with our tiny deeds of goodness. Because we are human. 

HAPPY RULES AT WORK

Everybody at some time, feels a need to know about the purpose of life. Why am I here? What role am I to play? Why should I suffer? How can I make my life happier? Probably we all sometimes dwell on these questions, but it seems there are no easy answers. The search for finding purpose and happiness in our little lives, seems intrinsic to our human needs. Don’t we all deserve a meaningful life? Don’t we all deserve happiness at work?
When I was a young man, I thought that I could give meaning to my life by striving for material wealth, a jet set lifestyle, a successful career. And that’s what motivated me to work hard, earn a degree in business administration and cleverly manoeuver my way up to the higher ranks on the corporate ladder. A bigger bank account, a bigger house, a bigger car, a bigger family and a bigger wife was the result. At hindsight it comes as no surprise that all this material wealth did not lead to a happier life. In the end it felt shallow and empty. And worse, on the way I lost the love for thé love-of-my-life as well.
True happiness is many things to many people and no single definition seems to hold. Some people think about happiness as the enjoyment of simple hedonistic virtues. Others think about spiritual meaning, connection and love. In the end I believe the search for happiness is  the driving energy for all our behaviors.
My life is a cliché. As I went through my midlife phase, I became interested in psychology, sociology and philosophy. Questions like why do we do the crazy things we do and what is the true meaning of love and attraction caught my attention. Frantically I studied all scientific evidence  published in the field of human drives, motivations and emotions. This knowledge enriched my understanding and it also changed my personal aspirations and goals. No longer am I driven by bigger, by more.
I started appreciating the value of true mental connection with like minded people. As I left the corporate ladder – around the turn of the century – and started giving shape to a branding consultancy in the decade that followed, I increasingly resisted working with colleagues who were not my close friends.  Also I became aware that creative juices flow so much better in beautiful surroundings. And that people can only bloom if they are physically and mentally in top shape. I discovered that money is the wrong motive. It leads to the wrong decisions, as we all have witnessed over the last couple of years.
My personal journey to an inspired and meaningful life has provided me with some basic ‘happy’ behaviors. At BR-ND we try to live by these rules every day. I believe these behaviors are pretty much universal. Every person, team and organization would benefit is they would pursue them. I am always amazed when I start working for a client that these basics are not in place. How can teams deprived from happy behavior ever be successful? How can brands without happy energy ever be attractive?
To summarize these ‘happy’ rules:
  • Discover your personal and team purpose. Do this together and realize it is a process. Don’t let yourself be squeezed into some sort of corporate mission and value statement, which you don’t believe in nor have been part of. We are talking personal human feelings here. Why do you exist and why is this important? What are you fighting for and what beliefs do you stand for? How do you jointly want to impact the world around you?
  • Select people around you who are or can become your true friends. Teams will never flourish is there is no emotional connection, interest and understanding. Focus on the talents, not the tasks or competences. We talk loving connections, empathy and personal growth here.
  • Create a culture with more than sufficient space to dream, investigate, create, destroy and reconstruct. Without clear deliverables. Unleash that child inside you. Go play!
  • Eat together and make sure you taste what you eat. Warm meals are even better. Seek variety in your nutrition. Don’t go for factory made foods, but take the effort to prepare and enjoy meals together.
  • Get fit together. Make it practice to participate jointly in regular sports activities. Daily exercise makes instantly happy and if you do this together the team gets even stronger connected. Decide, commit, act. Sports is fun and instantly boosts happiness.
  • Make sure the place you work in is beautiful. Paint the walls in nice colors and get fresh flowers. How about smell and music? We talk aesthetics here.
With these ‘happy’ rules in place I promise you it will be so much easier to pursue operational effectiveness. Interested in seeing these behaviors in practice? Make an appointment with me at BR-ND. You are most welcome!
Amsterdam, 3 august 2013
Alexander Koene
Proud Co-Founder BR-ND

TRANSFORMATION OF A DIVA

From the very start that I met Kim Cramer – my proud co-founder of BR-ND – back in 2005,  she made an amazing impression on me. Fresh from University, armed with scientific thinking and heaps of empathy, she filled a large gap in my professional reality. Together we discovered and grew emotive thinking in branding, which culminated in the innovative services of our firm. And although I myself am always stubbornly pushing for transformation whatever, it was Kim who kept me on track. Critical in her analysis, loyal in her friendship and committed to change the world of branding in a blissful way.
Over the last year Kim went through the most significant transformation herself.  She gave birth to new life; a boy named Kai.
I witnessed her transform both mentally and physically over an amazing short period. One moment we crossed the finish line of the Marathon of Amsterdam end of 2012, the next moment her belly started to grow. I also saw the gradual changes in her temper. Motherhood is such a permanent emotional transformation. I don’t know any life event so transforming that wouldn’t come with heaps of anxiety, worry, regret, ambivalence or wondering. It must be the nature of the beast. I remember how the pregnancy of the mother of my own children caused the most significant changes to her personality and to the nature of our intimate relation. Unfortunately, these less-than-glowing feelings are also among life’s best-kept secrets. I wonder if the emotions during pregnancy simply are caused by hormones run amok? Or is motherhood the ultimate test combining compassion and perseverance?
The last couple of months Kim has been on pregnancy leave. Basically I have had to run the show alone. Something I have had to adjust to after our 3-4 year period of intensive daily co-operation. I have come to understand how much she means to me and how difficult it is to run the operation without her on my side. I have been brutally confronted with my own operational shortcomings. And I have felt her absence from the office, simple things like the way she frantically types on her keyboard and her typical energetic steps when she walks around. Suddenly I have had to deal with project planning and financial follow ups. But most of all I missed her as a source of creative inspiration.
People have asked me about the future. Will Kim be back? Will she be able to combine her family chores with fighting for our purpose to change brands emotively? Where will her focus be?
I gave this question thought and I concluded things can only change for the better. Convinced I am that motherhood causes a fundamental transformation in women. Think of female extreme long distance runners performing even better directly after pregnancy. Women are even able to outrun males while breastfeeding on the go. Childbirth is the ultimate creative performance and it triggers survival instincts beyond the ordinary. Motherhood is the ultimate test combining compassion and perseverance. Will Kim transform from a Diva into a Lioness? For some a question, for me a yes!
On a personal note: Kim I can’t wait having you back later this month! Thankful I am in having you as a most empathic and competitive friend and business partner.
I also thank Celeste Miller, Daan Koene, Annelies Engel, Olivier van Veen, Michiel van Beek, Karin de Mos, Kim van der Brugge, Daphne Depassé and all other 23plusone friends for your friendship and support the last couple of months!
Amsterdam, 5 August 2013
Alexander Koene
Proud Owner BR-ND

POLICY OF HAPPINESS

If science proves that happiness improves business performance, shouldn’t policymakers act? Many people claim that ‘happiness’ in economic terms is defined as the pursuit and accumulation of material wealth. They reason that even an avalanche of positive research on emotional and physical well-being would have no traction in the policy world. The Western belief is, after all, that people are responsible for the happiness in their own lives.
Not the C-suiters.
I had a discussion with my mother yesterday eve – she’s from 1945. She seemed convinced that people have to be intrinsically happy, not contextually. And having a job is not a means to be happy, but a means to accumulate wealth. A job will allow for proper housing, food and leisure activities for the family. The care taking for the family promotes happiness, not the job itself. I failed miserably to convince her thinking differently.
She believes that in case a job makes unhappy, it is compensated for by the pay.
Apparently I am from a different generation and by definition I seem to disagree with her. While realizing this, I see so many hardworking people burn out. People very close to me. After many years of hard stressful work, they suddenly collapse. Often in the midst of life they hit the wall big time. Unsatisfied and drained by stress and subconscious frustration. Once they recover they realize that they have to change things. Making contextual changes to be happier. Often they are even prepared to sacrifice the height of their income.  
In my role at BR-ND I try to promote happiness through meaningful purpose. If people stop working for the money and start pursuing something worthwhile, they might get what everybody deserves; a rich, rewarding and happy life. Reality is however, that most companies are run for the money and in general they are not very happy and inspirational places. Let’s face it, who wants to work for, invest in or purchase from a greedy company?
Apart from promoting meaningful purpose, I am convinced that something else has a direct impact on the emotional happiness of people; the degree of physical well being. I mean sports and nutrition.
If policy makers would realize their organization performs better with engaged happy workers, shouldn’t they start with promoting regular sports activities? How can people be happy, if they sit behind their desks for over 8 hours a day? And probably 2 hours in the car. Day after day. Year after year.
The more I think about it the more I start liking it. Wouldn’t it be nice if every organizational team would be committed to the gym or outdoors for 45-60 minutes daily. Wouldn’t that have wonderful effects on teambuilding? Wouldn’t that have tremendous effects on creativity? Wouldn’t that boost happiness? And what about if organizations would provide for healthy foods? Lot’s of fresh vegetables, fruits and lean meats? What if teams would eat together instead of a sandwich behind their desk? What would be the positive impact on performance and results?
What if the purpose of an organization was to promote happiness?
And what if my mom would listen?

Alexander Koene,
Perros Guirec, 15 july 2013



Saturday, October 15, 2011

UNLEASHING EMOTIVE CAPITAL

During most of my marketing career, I believed the measure for success to be market-share and bottom-line. Recent global developments have faded this belief and new perspectives on business are emerging. In summary, my conviction is that shareholder value has to shift from a ‘finance’ to an ‘emotive’ orientation. Assuming that we all wish to create a better, more beautiful world.

Over the past decades, corporate leadership has become obsessed with maximizing shareholder value. Nearly every measure taken in the corporate boardroom was justified by shareholder value. At the end of 2011 the Western world is sunk deep in a recession, which started in 2008 with the meltdown of the global banking system. And today, corporations driven by their financial greed, quite rightfully face a widespread distrust. This distrust cannot any longer be ‘repaired’ with positive brand communications, as it will backfire through powerful social networks. Most senior managers will agree (just as I did) that these beliefs drive corporate decision-making:
  • Leadership team is focusing on maximizing shareholder value.
  • Bonus schemes align the interest of management with shareholders and steer employee motivation.
  • Senior management is appointed for 3-5 years to show hard results.
  • Brand marketing drives customer demand.
  • Societal concerns, if recognized at all, can be addressed with CSR programs.
These belief systems have had their best days. Shareholder value thinking and bonus schemes lead to short term financial focus, which by definition ignores the long term continuity. Furthermore it has been proven over-and-over again that people are not motivated by money, but by development of their talents, autonomy in their actions and meaningfulness to others. And lastly, shareholder value ignores the consequences for the community nor does it develop the emotive capital of the organization.

From greed to great by unleashing the emotive capital.
Continuity and growth of an organization will be maximized, when profits are not taken, but instead re-invested to add even more value to society. Most companies are not started by their founders for mere profits. They exist to innovate, make the entrepreneur’s dream come true and help other people. Autonomy, meaningfulness and talent development are more powerful motivators than obscene financial schemes. Financial bonuses work best for lowly educated workers with simple and repetitive jobs. Even worse, higher educated people with creative jobs and a higher fixed income are demotivated by financial schemes, as it reduces their autonomy, makes them risk averse and kills their creativity to add value.
Addressing meaningful social issues and helping people to better their lives, has to be the fundamental existence of any organization. As soon as these things are seen as separate CSR initiatives, it becomes clear that it is not part of the existing ‘dirty’ business. In this context the (corporate) brand has to be repositioned as the ‘meaningfulness’, the compelling framework which links people with the organization’s emotive capital.
Brands which depend in their existence solely on clever consumer insights, without linking to an intrinsic emotive purpose, will cease to exist. Such brands will increasingly be recognized as a fake trick of the marketing department and their advertising agencies.
Alexander Koene, BR-ND The appeal company

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

KIM'S BRAIN MAGIC

On Saturday 21st of May, BR-ND's branding diva Kim Cramer exposed herself to fMRI brain scanning. This magical piece of research, funded by our client De Telefoongids & Gouden Gids, is a breakthrough attempt to understand the magic of brand appeal. One will agree that Kim gives new meaning to Beauty & Brains.  




Apart from Kim, in total 32 persons will participate in this wickedly exciting brain research. The findings, in combination with traditional 'call-to-web' concept testing, will help us to better understand unconscious emotive brain processes, in order to identify optimal branding strategies for our client.

You will understand how excited I am with the wealth of new knowledge and progress in our thinking and methods this research will bring to BR-ND. Will keep you posted!

We run this research in cooperation with brain professor Victor Lamme (University of Amsterdam) and Neurensics.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

TIRANY OF THE MASSES

Sometimes one stumbles over a concept which sticks. I had such a thing last week after researching the concept 'freedom of choice'. Are humans able to make free choices? Or is autonomy a brilliant illusion of our wicked mind? As this touches heavily on the principles of democracy, I will try to keep this post a bit airy. Do read the quotes!

While crawling over the internet to satisfy my information hunger I got to know John Stuart Mill. John Stuart Mill was a great believer in, and defender of freedom, especially freedom of speech and thought.

Mill argued that society's utility would be maximized if each person was free to make his/her own choices and that freedom is necessary for a person's development.

His ideas seem to hold!

Get to know the man by reading his quotes.

'I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires... rather than in attempting to satisfy them'.

'The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement.'

'Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.'

'What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs.'

'That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.'

'All desirable things... are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as a means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain.'

'Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character had abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and courage which it contained'

'If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.'

'One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.'

'Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of.'

'To understand one woman is not necessarily to understand any other woman.'

A romantic thinker, Mill showed even stronger romantic predispositions in his private life. His life long love affair with Harriet Taylor (1807-58) was a source of intellectual stimulus and inspiration. When the two first met in 1830 she was married to a successful London merchant, named John Taylor. Harriet must have been a formidable character as a philosopher and women's rights advocate. She was a nonconformist by both faith and temperament. After twenty-one years of friendship and intimacy, John and Harriet married in 1851, immediately after Taylor's death.

Sources: wikipedia, brainyquotes, liberalhistory, stanford encyclopedia of phil.

Friday, April 29, 2011

GIVING IS THE NEW TAKING

Something is changing. I dream about it. I feel it. I see it around me. And it is powerful. It is powerful because it comes from many. Because it grows. And because influential people and organizations are embracing it. The concept?

by Kim Cramer PhD

So simple that one would almost forget about it: DOING GOOD.

More and more I hear and read about people and companies taking responsibility in their own small or large way. They have ceased seeing enrichment and money as their highest goal and have started looking for a higher reason for their existence. Why do we do what we do? What is it we want to achieve for the world? Why is that important? The answers to these questions have nothing to do with 'growth' and 'profit', but with a deep rooted passion to care. Fulfilling a soulful role in society. Inspired to make the world a better place. To give instead of take. And the funny thing is: organizations embracing this principle, receive! They perform better. They literally ‘deserve’ it.

I'm not talking about CSR-programs where giving back is seen as a luxury. Separate from the main business, and only if the budget allows. Packaged in a CSR program. I have nothing against such programs, which are often far reaching and full of good intentions. But they are temporary and often they stand quite separate from the main company objectives. I mean companies that take ‘doing good’ at the heart of their entrepreneurship. Companies whose purpose, whose faith, whose passion is to contribute to a better world. In an inspiring and authentic way that is relevant and appealing.

Social media are an important catalyst of this phenomenon. In this transparent world, merely being in business for selfish reasons can have impactful consequences. The greed and gluttony that once might have remained hidden behind closed doors, is nowadays exposed within seconds. It also works the
other way around: who does good, will be rewarded by positive stories that are frequently shared. People love to be involved and associated with beautiful stories. They want to be part of it. This applies not only to the public but also to employees. That's why I look forward to a new generation of corporate leaders
who are prepared to show engaged humanity in their leadership role. So they are a true source of inspiration for the people who eventually do the work.

From post-capitalism to the economy of the gift. ‘From greed to generosity’. I do not just think it is wonderful that more and more organizations demonstrate their humanity. I am also personally inspired to help them. To start searching for the answer to the why-question and to (re)discover their reason for being. Vague? I guess so. Idealistic? Absolutely. And I admit, we're not there yet. Will we ever live
in a world where it is more important to give than to take? I dream on ...

Kim Cramer, co-owner of BR-ND and member of the Advisory Board of SWOCC.

Follow Kim on twitter

Article published earlier and translated from SWOCC

Saturday, April 23, 2011

SOCIAL BRAND LEADERSHIP

Simon Mainwaring is the author of We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World (Palgrave Macmillan). Prior to founding We First, a social branding consultancy, Simon was a Nike creative at Wieden+Kennedy and Worldwide Creative Director for Motorola at Ogilvy. He blogs at simonmainwaring.com and tweets @simonmainwaring

For decades, the decision to be an environmentally and socially responsible company has been based on the bottom line: Would it be profitable? In general, companies have crunched the numbers and chosen shareholder profits over a sufficient commitment to invest in greater social responsibility. In terms of traditional accounting and the legal requirements of corporations, costs always outweighed benefits.

But it now seems that this equation is starting to lean the other way as brands recognize the potential financial and reputational advantages they can gain by engaging with consumers around the shared ambition of building a better world. We can see this already happening among some leading brands such as Pepsi, Google, Nike, Patagonia and Starbucks, who have all earned consumer respect for their involvement in some area of environmental or social responsibility related to their business.

How did this come about? In large part, it is because the payoff for corporate engagement with customers has risen dramatically as a result of social media. The new dynamics between brands and consumers, driven by social media, are proving to be a powerful impetus for change.

It begins with brands recognizing that, in the future, they must position themselves to win customers by offering them a vision of a better world and inviting them to help achieve it by co-creating the brand’s story. As the brand’s customers become loyal fans, they use their social networks to spread the word about that brand, driving even more new fans to join in. This dynamic may have its initial upfront costs, but it pays off in the end through an extended global audience of buyers and fans.

Transforming a brand into a socially responsible leader doesn’t happen overnight by simply writing new marketing and advertising strategies. It takes effort to identify a vision that your customers will find credible and aligned with their values. The company must learn how to engage its consumers with authenticity and transparency, using social media to create a meaningful dialogue. Finally, it must beat back the forces resisting change, including opponents among shareholders and management fighting to preserve short-term rewards for themselves.

The Seven Stages

The process of becoming a brand leader in the next decades will be an evolutionary one involving at least seven stages. Each stage is defined by its unique leadership style, brand vision, social media commitment and level of engagement with the brand’s customer base:

Unsustainable corporate self-interest: This is where most organizations sit today. They donate to philanthropy or practice some type of cause marketing but they largely define their success in terms of monetary returns for shareholders.

Self-directed engagement: A growing number of organizations are moving up to this stage, recognizing that changing their social responsibility profile can earn benefits. But most of their outreach efforts at this stage are still done for image management in the public eye. They are still motivated mostly by self-interest and the desire to avoid bad publicity.

C-suite reflection: In this stage, the corporate leaders of the brand begin to reflect deeply on their vision for the brand. A few leaders among them will put together a proposal for the company’s future based on fulfilling greater social responsibility benchmarks.

Consumer facing self-interest: At this stage, the brand begins moving toward an authentic commitment to socially responsible behavior. However, it still fails to make all of its consumer-facing outreach consistent. As a result, consumers (and employees) often experience a disconnection between what the company says it stands for and its actions, including its supply chain and the products and services it offers.

Self-directed reform: Here, a brand examines the details of its mandate — its core values, purpose and consistency of its messaging. It starts making serious changes such as changing suppliers, imposing strict ethical standards and hiring new leadership to reformulate its vision. These changes are mostly unseen by the public.

Brand leader: At this stage, the corporation embraces the need to share stewardship of their brand with their consumers. It recognizes the need to be transparent, accountable, and authentic. The brand endeavors to become a pacesetter for others in its socially responsible behavior. Its employees rank it as a great place to work, watchdog groups give it high marks as a responsible company, and consumers hold it up as a leading purveyor of positive social impact, by talking about the brand in their blog posts, tweets, and across their social networks.

Brand visionary: In this final stage, the brand is well respected for carrying a strong, long-term vision of a better world that it seeks to bring to fruition. It quiets shareholders who clamor only for short-term profits. It conducts a regular dialogue with its consumers, who willingly co-create the brand’s story, while being loyal fans of the brand and driving its profits. In achieving this brand visionary status, its customers form a global synaptic network that is always in support not just of its products but also the core values of the brand, which become meaningful in their lives.

The opportunity for many of today’s companies to become true socially responsible brand visionaries is available, but only if they want it, and ask their customers for help. Indeed, if we consider the online reach of companies like Facebook and Twitter, the offline reach of companies like Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Walmart, and the fervent consumer loyalty that companies like Apple, Nike and Patagonia inspire, it’s easy to imagine how a web- and social-savvy population could coerce these companies — and any others who want to follow their example — into becoming the leading global brand visionaries of the future.

Reposted from mashable

Friday, April 22, 2011

WATER CHANGES EVERYTHING

We live in an increasingly transparent connected world. Brands must engage in and trigger meaningful dialogue to create positive associations. To turn the world for the better, wouldn't it be great if brands start to bridge what is good for the planet with people's personal drives? Learn about the water crisis.



charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.

Share this video with all people you know!

Brands that help change the world for the better will be talked about, cherished and ultimately loved. Such brands will be preferred over brands that position themselves on product characteristics, features or other emotional benefits. I have no doubt that businesses with such a higher purpose will flourish. They will attract followers who in turn will help them realize their purpose through positive impact which ultimately translates into profit.

I wonder which company is prepared to create a beautiful world by supporting the global water challenge? Any ideas?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DANCING AT FATBOY?

11 years ago I abandoned the corporate ladder to become self-employed. I never regretted that decision and every day I enjoy my personal freedom. I am a born entrepreneur. As a branding consultant I have been able to look inside dozens of organizations and never have I been tempted to rejoin the army of mercenaries.

Today I received a call from Nicole.

Nicole is interim HR director at Fatboy the original. She asked me straight out if I would be interested to join Fatboy as Marketing Director. She read my articles, studied my company and understood my thinking. I had to smile while she stroke my ego. Got to admit that I immediately liked Nicole. And I like that Fatboy brand. Rebellious as it is by challenging most conventions. Playful. Colorful. Straightforward. Democratic. Sturdy. Somehow I really feel attracted to that brand. It gives me a nice feeling. For a very short instant I was tempted to consider the option. Because certain brands are highly appealing and Fatboy is one of them.

Fatboy deserves a brilliant Marketing Director. A rebel who understands emotional branding. An unconventional thinker with the capacity to inspire and passionately bring magic to the world. I suppose Fatboy indeed deserves somebody like me. But not me. I have found my true passion at BR-ND.

Do you recognize yourself in the below profile? I suggest you contact Nicole.


Marketing Director    


05.04.11 Fatboy the original B.V. (fatboy), a young and ambitious company with friendly, optimistic, innovative and authentic as label values. Fatboy provides a superb career opportunity for a proactive, fun, energetic, a bit rebels sales representative with a background of selling lifestyle and/or emotional brands into the retail segment.

Do you come from a world of independent thinkers? Are you someone with a brilliant and creative mind? Do you not only have the best and most creative idea ever but also the strategy, the" how"  to get the idea landed inside and outside Fatboy?
Where lifestyle and brands are your every day digest and make you feel like dancing? Can you make carrot cake out of the ingredients listed in the brand bible? And can you translate the ingredients for a recipe appreciated from the Netherlands, to Australia to Abu Dabi?

We come in peace and are eager to establish Fatboy as the intergalactic favorite lifestyle brand. Therefore we seek a Marketing Director with solid experience, intelligence and flair to play the main character part in rolling out our communication and marketing throughout the galaxy.

We need a heavyweight from the industry who has a proven track record and will get the message landed in every corner of the earth.

Are you the person to think with Fatboy the strategy and are you the best to get it landed and rolled out with a young and eager team. Do you get your kick out of getting the message across throughout existing and new markets and sales channels that we are familiar with or yet to discover? Is this a vacancy with your name on it? Please, wait no longer and write to us (resume, motivation and photo) nicole@fatboy.com

Does it sound fantastic but are you a fresh starter without the necessary relevant years of experience? Then see this as a motivator but wait until we post a vacancy that does have name on it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NEW DATE: BR-ND NEW OFFICE PARTY

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We have postponed the BR-ND New Office Party, due to the school holidays.
The new date is 12 May 2011, starting at 16:00.
RSVP 

Kim Cramer & Alexander Koene
BR-ND | The brand appeal company

 

Monday, April 4, 2011

PURPOSE LEADS TO PROFIT

Branding transforms from being a capitalist tool driving economical growth to a social tool creating happiness in a beautiful world. 

Greed is the salty water consumed by those with a thirst for self-centered gratification. This kind of thirst can never be quenched and becomes the source of increasing torment. (Matthieu Ricard)

A lot has happened in my little life over the last couple of months. I moved back to Amsterdam after over a year of close to solitary isolation in reclaimed territories. Giving me all the time to question things profoundly. Now I am back in the big city where the action is. I can feel it. The creative energy is getting back to me.

More needed to change. End of 2010, after nearly 10 years, I split from my business partners. To set up a new firm, building on the past but with heaps of fresh thinking and new ideas. Free to shape an exciting future for BR-ND. Because times are changing fast and I am convinced that our branding practice will need to change accordingly. Striving for meaningful purpose and generosity is one of these change drivers. The science of emotional branding and playing with co-creation tools are the others.

From greed to generosity
Scarcity, real and imagined, can trigger greed as a survival mechanism. No blame here - but awareness might help us take a deeper look at greed within each of us. Further, in the bigger picture, how is greed affecting the world? With so much 'plenty' in the Western World, aren't we the victim of inner emptiness, a scarcity that cannot be remedied? Isn't it time for a new way of looking at the world of branding? We increasingly live in a closely connected, mutually dependent global village. Digital social technology is transforming our intertwined personal and professional lives. Local happenings are instantly globally shared. In such a village greedy behavior hurts our beloved ones, friends, millions of strangers, business and ultimately the planet. This thinking is gradually entering the corporate boardrooms as a new generation of CEO's shifts focus from investor returns to meaningful purpose and contribution to a better world.

I personally accept the challenge to be a significant force for change. To turn this world for the better, I will use my knowledge about people and branding to create appealing purpose. To bridge what is good for the planet with people's personal motivations. Brands that contribute to transforming the world positively will be talked about, cherished and ultimately loved. Such brands will be preferred over brands that position themselves on mere product characteristics, features or other emotional benefits. I have no doubt that businesses with a higher purpose for being will flourish as they attract followers who in tern will help them realize their purpose through positive impact and profit.

In summary
We live in a global village. Information becomes transparent. Technology is driving humanity. People want and deserve a better world. What is good for all is good for you. Brands connect people with purpose. Purpose leads to impact, connection and profit.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

CREATE BRAND APPEAL

23plusone brand appeal features in ADMAP, januari 2011 issue. Ideas and evidence for marketing people.

Open publication


Monday, November 22, 2010

fMRI ME INSIDE MY WICKED BRAIN

Cognitive neuroscience by use of fMRI scanning to even better understand what appeal is all about. New technologies are rapidly becoming accessible and affordable for branding research and potentially could further rocket the science behind 23plusone brand appeal studies. Can't wait...

The last couple of weeks I made some side steps into the effects of social web on brand appeal. Convinced I am that social connection and influence must have a major unconscious impact on what we think and how we act. It was a recent article in the NRC newspaper which brought my conscious and curious mind back to the more scientific side of my investigations on brand appeal.

About a month ago I even found myself inside such a giant scanner and I still hear the magnetic waves bang my skull. A wonderful piece of equipment which made the most fascinating 3D images of anything happening inside my body. And inside my wicked wild brain.

Today I got in touch with Professor Victor Lamme of  the Congnitive Neuroscience Group of the University of Amsterdam.With a team of researchers they are investigating what consciousness is all about. Not from a philosophical or psychological , but from a neurological point of view. Increasingly, research is revealing that people are not conscious of the things happening in their brain. And asking people for their opinions and expected behavior is thought less valid than ever before. 

Choosing a sex partner, buying a house, a car or a new smart-phone. We want to believe those are conscious decisions, but deep inside we know they are not.  

Our brain is full with unconscious processes which determine our behavior long before we are conscious of what we are going to do.

And it is with these scanners that those unconscious processes can be identified. Just like in ordinary research, a large enough sample of respondents is placed inside the scanner while they are exposed to stimuli, for example certain brands. Their brain activity is measured and compared with activity when exposed with positive stimuli related to for example, sexuality, gastronomy or friendship. And negative stimuli like what happens when seeing spiders, snakes and revolting physical injuries. Obviously measuring what happens in the brain is much more objective than what they say subjectively about those brands.

I am excited to meet Victor Lamme next week. I wonder how neuroscience can further propel my thinking and open new doors in the magic adventures of the 23plusone studies. Will keep you posted.

PS message for my anonymous commenter, I will also ask if 'soul' can be scanned! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

AD AGENCIES, SOULLESS HOLES?

"Advertising, as it is widely practiced, is an inherently unethical and, frankly, poisonous endeavor that sees people as sheep to be manipulated, that vaunts style over substance, and deems success to be winning awards".

Peter Merholz’s yesterday's article on The Pernicious Effects of Advertising and Marketing Agencies Trying To Deliver User Experience Design is fierce, vicious and dogmatic, but he makes a clear point. And I appreciate his view including the many comments his blog post caused. If you are professionally occupied with branding and communication, I certainly recommend your read Peter's article.

I’ve never worked in an advertising agency, but I managed various international brands for years and the last decade I have been advising clients on their branding. In this 23-year period I've been dealing with numerous advertising agencies. At the beginning of my career I was very much impressed. I loved the glitz and glamor of these creative people. However, over the years, my concerns have grown and I am not sure if this is caused by the declining quality, ethics and morale of advertising agencies and their staff or by the growth of my experience and understanding? Have I?

Are all advertising agencies soulless holes? No, but some certainly are. Are all advertisers career, salary and share price driven monsters? No, but some definitely are.

As in my yesterday's post, I can see the world enter a new era. It might be wishful thinking, but I would want the world to enter a period with more focus on social and durable responsibility. With organizations shifting from making money to making this a better world with happier people. The rest, including the money, will follow. And to me, this is the crux of the debate. A new generation of senior management is about to lead our corporates. And a new generation of agency is about to emerge. Human Centered Design, User Experience design, Service Design, Design Thinking, Emotive Branding to name a few, are terms for new thinking entering our category. I have no doubt that with all these developments in the world, traditional advertising and design agencies with a soulless narcissist morale will not survive. Hybrid agencies will emerge combining expertise in the field of strategic positioning, social connection and user experience. 

And yes, we need people like Peter Merholz to rock the boat and stir our thinking. He certainly did so with mine.

Friday, November 19, 2010

BRAND WORLD CHANGES

The other day I was sharing my thoughts with branding diva Kim Cramer on a new vision of the world and what this means for branding. After some interesting debate and some glasses of wine we jotted it down in the below four points.


We see a transparent world full with problems in which love, humanity, and good things are surfacing fast.

Brands should seize the opportunity to join this movement and contribute to making the world a better place with happy people.
___

We see new technology connecting people on about anything, anytime and any place.

Branding is not just a sender-driven game anymore. People are collectively defining what the brand stands for. On the one hand, there are more means for organizations to communicate with people. On the other hand, it is more difficult to control what the dialogue is all about. This paradox should inspire brand owners to rearrange their brand building initiatives.

___

We see new knowledge about how our brain works which shows that people’s ideas and behaviors are driven by their emotions.

Brands that touch people emotionally are embraced by their hearts. Therefore, branding should start with emotional drives, the rest follows.

___

We see organizations bloom when people are emotionally connected in pursuing an inspirational goal symbolized by the brand.

Branding should have a central role in the organization with responsibility at the highest level and involving all disciplines. Over are the times that brand management and their ad agencies define what the brand stands for.


What do you see?