How does a company develop brand, grow into a sector powerhouse, and become the corporate behemoth that they are so ardently trying to subvert in this age of disruptive this and startup that?
In other words: How do you get people to fall in love with you and your company?
While we’re here I’d like to take a moment to state how much I think that the terms “disruptive” and “startup” have been over used, beaten to death to the point where they no longer have signal strength. They have become just so much a part of the noise and, as such, no longer deliver the message they once offered. Aside from that, the term “disruptive” also carries a negative connotation, i.e. “disruptive children”, while “startup” has become shorthand for: “We have a baller idea, no assets, and are looking for funding.” A company would be better served, startup or otherwise, if their messaging tended more towards the positive and proactive with a resolute focus that inspires the recipient to dreams of “What Ifs” and “Why Nots”. I suggest we write new code or mine from ancient code to create our own brand of meme that immediately sets us apart from the rabble. Using terms like “innovative” or “evolutionary” and “genesis” or “igniter”, while conveying the same information, has an immediate positive affect and better cuts through the noise to deliver your signal to audience. It also shows that you are not part of the herd of disruptive startups – that you strive to deliver something unique, additive, a distinctive product that really is the genesis of an innovative evolutionary igniter.
Enough with the ranting, back to the subject at hand: If we can find a new drummer we’re going to get the Brand back together.
Mind Hacking is a relatively straightforward process that can provide determinable reactions based upon known quantities of human action and interaction, i.e. “What’s the best way to engage a person for that eight to twelve seconds you have before their mind wanders? Ask a question.” or “If a person is upset never tell them to calm down, that will only make them more angry.” I used to buy into all of that as the be-all end-all but, of recent, have come upon a more comprehensive holistic approach, Human Hacking. It’s the difference between hacking software code and rewriting the BIOS. It incorporates all of the tricks of Mind Hacking yet also allows for subtleties not processed, initially, by the brain. We’re talking glandular and the fighting five senses. As example I give, Love.
With this in mind we set our sights towards what it takes to create Brand. Building a Brand seems an “equatable" task on the face of it so let’s try to determine the elements that make up this math while utilizing the Human Hackometer.
Human nature has it that we all strive to be the best at what we do, to inject the essence of quality in our work, our product, our business so that it ripples outward in a positive manner to our clients and customers which in turn ultimately reflects back upon us in good will and loyalty. It’s a competitive thing – trying to be better than the next person. So we will count Quality as one ingredient in this algebra aggregate.
Another item on the sensory gratification list is that we like to feel what we do has purpose, is necessary to the greater good which makes us feel we have contributed to the betterment of the community. It gives us a sense of justification for getting up in the morning. With this we add a dollop of necessity to this potluck proof.
We also like to create things that are better, an improvement on what has come before. As technology has grown it has allowed for innovation in sectors that, for all intents and purposes, had hit innovative walls from prior mindsets and technologies – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We’ll call this: The “Have It Your Way” Generation Strikes Back. We chalk innovation onto the board for this calculus computation.
Form and function seem destined to go hand in hand. How we perceive something and how we interact with it are two sides of the same coin that goes a long ways towards leaving an indelible impression on our satisfaction glands. Again, human nature has us hard wired to seek out beauty and the sublime if for no better reason than the propagation of the species. And I believe that we all know how intriguingly well that function works. So form and function get interjected into this mathematical matrix.
What we end up with is a formula that looks like this:
What that equates to is anybody’s ballgame. It’s mostly there to mollify the MBA’s and give them something to stick in their spreadsheets while we go out and sit around the campfire creating mythologies.
At this point I should tell you to create a list from the items above and check them against your business/product, but I won’t, because I know you’ve already done it long ago and come up with a rationalized affirmative for every box. This is all just superficial stuff, child’s play, but hang on, we’re about to get to the meat of the hack. We’re digging deep, moving past BIOS and taking up residence in chipset architecture – the land of Tron.
The question we really need to ask here is: “How did a second rate apelike creature way down the pecking order from king of beast come to rule the world?”
The answer to this question will give you the overarching logic of what motivates human beings. Will give insight to color of human emotion. Tap into the frequencies of rationalization. Explain Love. Make your whites whiter!
I know, you think I’m off on some anthropological sociological rant that has nothing to do with building brand, but trust me, this is what everyone paid to come and see.
What it distills down to is this: Humans were able to learn how to believe.
No, not in themselves, I believe most humans rarely give themselves a second’s thought except when asking: What’s in it for ME?
They came to believe in story, narrative, mythology, the abstract. They banded themselves in tradition of belief that created tribe and state, money and religion. This sheathed them mentally in colors of team that allowed for organization across barriers of distance and familiarity – to defend a complete stranger based upon a similarity of belief in an abstract. More importantly, it was a flexibility of organization that allowed for banding and disbanding of humans to meet specific needs, building, fighting, migrating, creating social structures that allowed for human rights – another abstract taken on faith.
No group of creatures before or since has developed this ability to such a degree. Chimpanzees will organize in small groups of less than ten but only with other chimps that they know, never with strangers. Ants and Bees work in a very rigid organized manner regardless of familiarity but are lacking for any flexibility or spontaneity – they’d never overthrow their queen and set up a republic.
It is humans alone that will believe anything you tell them, as long as you tell it in the right way. For a company developing its Brand this means creating a story, a mythology with all of its own shamanistic totems and talismans, sorcerers rituals and rights because, when it comes down to it, shaman and sorcerers were basically the tribal storytellers of their epoch, creating unity of brand, tribal team spirit – today they would be marketing geniuses.
That’s great, but just how does this translate into useful steps for marketing a new thingamabob in 2015?
Another tidbit of Human Nature is that we cannot formulate a substantial question without knowing the answer, or at least the answer we want to hear. As example I give; hypothesis and Douglas Adams’, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” wherein the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything was revealed to be “42” – we had to figure out what the specific question was to have it make sense.
How does this all translate into boots on the ground, practical apps for building your Brand? I’ve supplied some of the answers above and the fundamental architecture behind their universe, now it’s time to figure out the questions. To do this a company need find someone who can decode the right questions that lead to the creation of their specific narrative. Once you have that narrative then everything that you do flows in a positive, compelling, forward motion, the weight of which constantly cycles to build your Brand. Just stick to the story. What companies should really be looking for is a C level hire with the title of CSO – a Chief Shamanistic Officer – someone who can sit around that campfire and spin the tales that will lead their tribe to fall in love with their product and their Brand. Because, the best type of marketing is ground up, grass roots campaigns proselytized by a fervent band of acolytes to any and all.
What’s the answer? It doesn’t matter. It’s the question that counts. Once you have the right questions then you can build your narrative that cements your Brand and creates that elusive emotion – Love.