Brands are so much more than a mark, a color or a familiar phrase. Brands are the combination of all of the sensory messages that they consistently send and the emotions and memories the audience receives. Because of this, brands not only derive meaning from people, but people derive meaning from brands. Because of this engagement phenomenon, brands are built over time but can be destroyed in an instant.
This is why is it critically important to realize that branding is all about people. And it begins at the inside of an organization. In his best-selling book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink describes the shift taking place from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. A major component of this paradigm shift is the new importance of meaning in business and in all aspects of our lives. In addition to explaining the traction that the environmental movement has rather quickly generated, the importance of meaning further explains why corporate social responsibility has become a top issue in executive suites around the world. And this is why branding takes place from the inside out.
A more holistic approach to business is taking place. Integral business or conscious business is focusing more on the building value through getting in touch with people and the unique human values that they bring. Maya Angelou’s famous quotation, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” has relevance to building brands today. Whether it is how your employees make them feel, how you make your employees feel or in the type of messages that your brand delivers — marketers need to be taking a holistic or integral approach that connects people in meaningful ways.
Remember to sell emotions. Sell meaning. Ask your clients how they want the recipient to feel. You’ll make better recommendations. You’ll make better sales. You’ll build stronger and more lasting, loyal relationships.