Beauty & the Brand
The beauty of branding.
Imagine a crazy world where most of what you learned in school is backward, upside down and inside out.
Where POTUS and FLOTUS have COVID.
Where consumers control companies.
Where creators corner the avenue of self-expression.
Where your news feed is out of your control.
A world where customers design your products.
Perfection drives customers away.
Gender is fluid and demographics are beside the point.
Where meaning talks, artificial intelligence (AI) hawks, and stability is rocked.
Imagine a world where imagination beats knowledge, and empathy trounces logic.
If you’ve been paying enough attention, you see and feel the powerful wave of change rising all around you.
The question is:
Can you change your business, your brand, and your thinking quickly enough to swim in this new ocean?
In this time of fast-moving markets and leapfrogging innovation, we can no longer unlock wealth. We have to actively create wealth, or else end up in the relic of indifference.
Relevance is on the minds of every CEO, but you can’t just add the word relevance to your mission statement and expect magic to ensue.
As a CEO, you have to actively transform yourself and your company from a narrowly focused, intellectual, cerebral, data-driven company to a brilliantly moving tour de force — a design-driven company.
In the new creative economy, you have to change to overcome the three challenges of the present marketplace:
- relentless speed
- extreme clutter and
- non stop connectedness.
Let’s start by looking at three challenges we face today a little closer.
- RELENTLESS SPEED
The first is that business is accelerating. Ever since 1965 when Gordon Moore made the prediction that computer speeds would double every 18 months or so, business has increased at the same pace. More purchases are made in one hour than in all of 1965. What this means is that while one company is busy marketing its latest product or service, other companies are busy making it obsolete. The market moves faster than any one company.
- EXTREME CLUTTER
The second problem is that the marketplace is cluttered. Since 1983, the number of US trademarks has quadrupled.
Since 1991, the number of supermarket brands has tripled. Long gone are the days when you would walk into a store, select from two products on the shelf and as long as they kind of did what you needed it to do, you bought one.
- NON STOP CONNECTEDNESS
The third? The internet has changed everything. Customers are connected and are in full control. They can get anything they want from anywhere at any time. They have the choice and the voice.
With less time, how do they make these buying choices?
Now, here’s the secret.
If you want to innovate, you’ve got to think and you have to design.
Design thinking is the skill that activates transformation.
Without design thinking, your strategic choices will be limited to only what’s been done before. Traditional business thinking is based on a two-step process, knowing and doing. You know something, and then you do something. You take an action.
Design thinking is different. It adds a third step in the middle called making. The making step combines reflection, experimenting, and prototyping to expand the range of what we know, and therefore expands the range of what we can do.
What the designer says is, “Do we really know what we think we know? Are there any new ways to approach this?”
They move beyond the WHY to the WHAT IF.
The designer categorically refuses to accept the old or the easy.
It’s a mindset that makes traditional thinkers ticked off, but it’s the right mindset for today’s economy.
At the end of the day, designers reach for three intangible qualities: truth, beauty & trust. Combined it’s true beauty.
True beauty is the state of being authentic and real in a way that extends love to yourself and others.
True beauty is sincere. It’s safe. It’s alive. It’s playful. It’s affirming.
True beauty lights us up. It illuminates our entire being.
More powerfully, it empowers the light of everyone else around us.
True beauty helps other people feel more alive and powerful and real.
The best brands exude truth, beauty, and trust.
The best brands flourish.
The best brands thrive.
Check out my next week’s Secret Circle on How to Build a Flourishing Brand Online!
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