Ilana R. Borzak

Making Trust Mobile

 

“Virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust,” wrote Nobel prize winner Kenneth Arrow. Arrow’s line describes why banks emphasize consistent and personalized interactions with their customers across all branches– to build trust. Back when an actual bank was central to all banking activity, personalizing customer interactions wasn’t too complex. Executives placed greeters at every bank entrance and favored tellers with the local accent who would address us by name. But as we’ve exchanged our interactions with bank employees for banking apps on our phones, banks have been challenged to adopt their familiar strategy of emphasizing human interactions to our screens.

The technology that enables personalization is consistently improving and I’ve noticed increased personalization in my banking apps. Today, my American Express app, for example, greets me with a message appropriate to my time of day. And my Chase app welcomes me with a background based on my location (as I write this post in the Chicago office, I am greeted with the Chicago skyline). In the words of Chase’s head of digital for consumer and community banking, these apps were built with the intention of “humanizing the [digital] experience” aka giving the customer a digital experience similar to the retail experience, a concept that technology has only recently been able to realize. While the app will never replicate human interaction, it has the potential to master personalized interactions on a scale that is impossible for a bank employee (who can easily forget information or get stressed on the job) to do.

As banks seek to regain our trust after the Recession (Gallup), their increasing ability to create a consistent brand experience across all mediums for their customers is great news. Not only do they signal a bank’s excitement to help us where we are – whether online or in the store – they also bring consistency to the bank’s brand experience, an important part of building brand trust and loyalty (Journal of Consumer Research). The banking industry’s ability to use mobile for building customer trust is certainly something we can expect other industries to replicate.

 

Ilana R. Borzak

Finding the Inner Shopper

Advertising is more than the copy and art on your favorite magazine’s inside cover. That ad is made by an industry that straddles the gap between Art’s and Science’s hands as they approach for a handshake. It’s an industry that uses a scientific approach to human behavior and psychology, in order to create art that effects behavioral change. The websites it develops, the commercials it produces and the press coverage it generates are based on research-heavy understandings of you, the wallet holder. What you see on your screen is often born from behavioral models that bridge the Art and Science gap.

Advertising’s formal advent into human behavioral science is traced back to 1898, when the first known model depicting the theoretical journey a customer takes before purchasing an item was recorded. The AIDA Model, which later evolved into the Purchase Funnel, posits that every customer who wants to buy something starts at the funnel’s wide top with a number of brand options. As need or interest increases, he or she follows the linear path towards the stem, removing brands from the consideration set until a single  brand remains, which is then purchased.

Marketers using this research-supported model followed the image’s suggestion and assumed their customers methodologically made purchasing decisions. They reasoned that awareness’s and interest’s position at the funnel’s top meant they must be achieved in order to survive the customer’s narrowing of the funnel. And their ads reflected this thinking. VW’s “Think Small” ad, considered one of the most memorable ad campaigns of the 20th century (Ad Age), is a prime example. When seen as a whole, the ad’s visual simplicity draws the eye to the advertisement’s only two images — the car and the logo — bringing attention, or awareness, to their existence as independent yet intertwined entities. The “Think Small” copy was meant to spark interest and ensure a position at the beginning of the funnel amongst baby boomers who were buying larger cars than ever before to fit their growing families (Bizjournal). VW’s awareness- and interest- focused ad guaranteed a spot in the funnel’s final stages.

 

The ad was a success and set a new standard for advertising strategies at the time. In the nearly sixty years between its appearance and today, human behavior, analytic understanding of behavior, and advertising’s artistic creations to reach customers have evolved. The internet, arguably a prominent catalyst behind much of the change, created whole new venues for consumers to explore and discover and gave advertisers a completely new environment to communicate both to and with customers. It dated the AIDA Model and spurred McKinsey to create the Consumer Decision Journey, a new model that stands out for its theories as well as its fairly wide acceptance (1).

 

The now-spherical model no longer depicts the customer as a purely rational and methodological purchaser. Rather the changes, as McKinsey argues, incorporates the internet-using customer’s non-linear behavior and expectations. These customers who use sites like Amazon tend to add rather than subtract options as they get closer to purchase, negating the funnel’s linearity as well as distinct stages and a cohesive path to purchase (McKinsey). Behavioral targeting and recommendations, an advertising reaction to – as well as catalyst of – the changes are emblematic of the ad industry’s understanding of the digitally savvy. How many times have you gone to Amazon with a single brand in mind and then found yourself with more than 5 recommendation-fueled tabs on your browser with brands or products you never knew existed?

The parallel evolution from Purchase Funnel and “Think Small” to where we stand today reflects both the change in purchase behavior as well as advertising’s understanding of how people buy. What was once thought to be structured and linear is now circular and vague, a sentiment echoed by today’s most renowned decision-making researchers and advertisers (2). The funnel’s creator could never have conceived an advertiser’s ability to enter a customer’s life with a message that appropriately addresses where he or she is in the purchase process. Nor could he in the late-19th century have guessed that most consumers would willingly add products to their consideration set.

As ideas and technology evolve at an ever-faster pace, advertisers will have brought their version of art-and-science to a new place in the not-so-distant future, where theoretically you and your desire to buy will be. After all, the process that you take before you reach into your pocket for your wallet is our fuel for creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOOTNOTES

(1) Numerous models have been suggested over the years but the Consumer Decision Journey stands out as both a widely accepted and wildly divergent model from the original AIDA model. For a more thorough history of the models, see Thomas E. Barry’s 1987 article “The Development of the Hierarchy of Effects: A Historical Perspective” published in the Current Issues and Research in Advertising journal.

(2) Daniel Kahneman’s dual process theory, for instance, supports the idea that people aren’t always rational consumers. For more information, see his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

 

 

Ilana R. Borzak

Fight or Fright: Public Speaking

As an advertising professional, I frequently present my work and ideas to groups of people, often a nerve-wracking task. Too often, I decided, so I started reading about what I could do. Below are some of my findings: 

 

I blame my pre-performance nerves on our hunter-gatherer ancestors. They needed their community to survive and generations of living with this truth embedded the understanding in all of our brains: Social death is actual death.  So we automatically react when we sense that our social reputation is in danger. Like when we get on stage for a performance and essentially create an opportunity for others to judge us. Our brains, no matter how forgiving the audience, still thinks it’s about to confront a potentially lethal situation.

It immediately reacts and forces our bodies into ‘fight or flight’ mode to create the energy it thinks its owner needs to survive. Unfortunately this includes sweaty hands, shaky knees and churning stomach. While much of the reaction is instinctual, we can develop better skills by focusing on three particular areas: perspective, practice, and breathing.

Perspective is recognizing that the fear is in your head. In the worst-case scenario, you mess up and someone laughs. Your friends and family are not going to abandon you and you will not be left to die. Keep that in mind as you approach the podium. You put yourself in a lot more danger when you get on an airplane.

Practice. The more times you do something, like feel pre-speech anxiety, the more you understand the experience and can cope. Find opportunities to practice. Toastmasters is great and is in nearly every city. I recently joined and already feel more comfortable under the spotlight.

Don’t forget to breathe. It’s proven to relax. Brazilian psychologists found that professional musicians who do deep-breathing exercises before a show feel less shaky and nervous.  The deep breathing movement sends signals through your body to relax, essentially waging war against your body’s fight-or-flight response. Do it enough times, and the breathing will triumph.

I’ve explained why we have stage fright, the mechanics behind it, and how we can fight it. Hopefully the knowledge will help each of us present with a lot more confidence. Yet, be easy on yourself. As I mentioned, some of the reactions are out of our control. The trick is to manage them the best we can until even the managing part becomes second nature.

 

Sources:

  1. http://blog.ted.com/2013/10/16/required-watching-for-any-ted-speaker-the-science-of-stage-fright/
  2. http://lifehacker.com/what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-have-stage-fright-493170800
  3. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0046597
Ilana R. Borzak

Strategy. Discuss.

I was assigned to a project with people I had never worked with before. We met around a conference table, made some introductions, and began assigning responsibilities. Nothing was out of the ordinary except I started noticing that nearly everyone’s role, no matter the person’s official title, included “strategy.” And it meant something different for each person.  By the end of the meeting, I had heard so many uses of “strategy” that I no longer understood its meaning.

I’ve since had time and space to recognize the thread that everyone’s “strategy” shared. It was the process of taking disparate information and condensing it into a goal. Within this definition, “strategy” adds depth and intelligence to a project, no matter its industry.  A strategic HR Professional uses “strategy”  to understand an existing team’s personalities and recruit employees with skills that will bring the team’s capabilities to the next level. A strategic mother understands the values she wants to instill in her child and plans a life around them to ensure it.

“Strategy,” according to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.” It is a necessary preparation for success and thus tempting to overuse it. Unfortunately the word loses meaning when overextended, and its value diminishes.

A solution is to strive to define one’s “strategy.”  I challenge myself and others to take a break from the term. Next time I catch myself using the word, I’m going to define it and help others and myself understand the work I do.

Ilana R. Borzak

A Pitch with a Hitch?

A couple of months ago I wrote about two religions that use marketing (here and here) and I used the de facto terminology for describing religions’ marketing strategies,  “retention” and “recruitment.”  These words reveal an assumption we make when religions use marketing. They are either convincing members to remain connected to and active within their religious communities (retention) or influencing unaffiliated people to join (recruitment).

And we don’t use “retention” and “recruitment” to describe non-religion brands’ marketing efforts.  Traditional brands (1) create ads for “awareness” and “acquisition” goals (2). They inform a person of a product’s existence (awareness) or compel him or her to purchase it (acquisition). From a widely recognized beverage brand like Coca-Cola to an unknown tech startup to a nonprofit with an average level of recognition, these terms are used almost universally. Religion is the exception.

The different words we use reflect a view that religion is authoritarian. Both “retention” and “recruitment” describe a relationship with a clear power dynamic where the religion marketer exerts power over members and non-members to “retain” or “recruit” them. In contrast, the customer is the beneficiary in a non-religion marketing relationship. The customer gains knowledge through “awareness” or product through “acquisition.” Our speech attributes more unscrupulousness to religions than giant corporations with marketing budgets in the billions, even though many reliable surveys reveal that Americans trust clergy more than advertising and marketing professionals (3).  Perhaps the inconsistency between how we talk and what we think is the result of a strategic campaign the industry ran to improve a profit-driven image, whereas the language for religion remains honest and true to marketing’s goals. As a marketing professional, it sounds like the job for a good PR team.

 

 

(1) For lack of a better term, I use “traditional” to describe a brand that is not a religion. Feel free to reach out to me with a better term.

(2) From my research and conversations, albeit limited, I have found the retention/recruitment and awareness/acquisition divide to be somewhat consistently applied in the product and religious marketing spheres.

(3) See, for instance, these Gallup and GFK survey results.

Ilana R. Borzak

It’s (Not) all about the Money

This story begins when Max Ahlborn, a judge for One Show (an international advertising award show), noticed a pattern. Nearly every submission he reviewed included “crescendos of press and blog posts along side a proud announcement that not a single dollar had been spent on a media buy. A pattern that in just a few hours had become, well, slightly cliche.”[1] His critical view of the ad industry’s tendency to overhype page views and no media spend is something I share.

To highlight his point, Ahiborn created and launched a website, nomediaspend.com. He used no money to promote the site, only his and fellow judges’  Twitter accounts. Within a day, the site’s counter hit the 10,000 mark and multiple media outlets covered the story. He even created a case study video, that mocks the typical format advertisers use when presenting and highlighting an ad campaign’s effectiveness. The video uses advertising lingo and sophisticated-looking (read: confusing) charts to create the aura of a marketing success.

This campaign is truly clever. It’s both creative and tongue-in-cheek; a combination that, in this case, generated significant attention. It also ironically highlights his issue: getting people to talk about a brand doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve created a successful and effective campaign.  Other metrics are needed.

Advertising exists to generate sales and increase profit. The amount spent on media is merely a detail, not a goal. A campaign that generates one hundred views, spends nothing on media, and results in no sales is not necessarily better than one that spends $10 for 50 media impressions and generates $20 in sales. Never mind that both types of campaigns incur costs during ideation, production, and maintenance.  Each brand, product, message is best presented in a certain way and through a certain medium. If 100,000 views without spending a cent of media increase sales, great. If it requires buying media, cool. Particularly during our ‘social age,’ it’s easy to get in lost in the metrics of earned media (likes, tweets, shares, etc). But, at the end of the day, we’re here to increase a brand’s profits. And sometimes, but not always, it takes [media] money to make money.

 

 

[1] http://creativity-online.com/news/breels-max-ahlborn-on-being-cheap/149619

Ilana R. Borzak

Scientology as a Brand

You can learn a lot about a brand from its advertising. Here’s a good example:

(1)  Go to Google.com

(2)  Type “Scientology” into the search bar.

(3)  Look at the top paid result. What do you see?

I see an ad sponsored by the Church of Scientology. It reads, “Truth About Scientology  – You’ve heard the controversy.”

Regardless of whatever prior knowledge you might have about the religion, you can easily see that the Church of Scientology is using the ad to defend itself. The Church, like Mormonism, has never fared well in public perception polls, especially in the past couple of years. In response, the Church has turned to advertising, spending unprecedented amounts to combat the negativity and build a positive brand. Even though the Church’s campaigns are reactive, I believe that other religions can learn from Scientology’s attempt to strategically build its brand of religion.

The Church’s first large-scale campaign was in 2008 right after a video of high-profile actor Tom Cruise acting “manic” during a Church ceremony leaked.  Soon after, ad campaign “Get the Facts” launched. This campaign urged viewers to ignore any rumors and go to the Church’s website to learn ‘the truth.’ Subsequent campaigns also launched in the wake of PR crises but use an emotion-evoking strategy and attempt to position Scientology as the provider of meaning. Ads from these campaigns play inspirational music and speak about one’s existential quest for the truth.

In recent months, the media has increased its mostly negative coverage about the Church. In November of 2012, Vanity Fair published an article claiming that the Church controlled and destroyed Katie Holmes’ high-profile marriage to Tom Cruise. Three months later, Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright published his highly publicized investigative book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief. These, as well as other exposés, encouraged critical media coverage.

In November of 2012, just as this media hype was building, the Church of Scientology launched “Knowledge,” its newest ad campaign. While its underlying strategy isn’t novel, Knowledge’s media strategy represents many firsts for the Church and general religion. In November and December of 2012, the Church played a “Knowledge” commercial 16 times an hour in Times Square, including New Years Eve. In January, they sponsored an editorial-like article in The Atlantic and also aired the commercial during the high viewership AFC Championship and Super Bowl.  According to Karin Pouw, the Church’s spokeswoman, near future plans include airing the commercial on other prime time shows like Modern Family, Dancing with the Stars, Glee, and Vampire Diaries. The Church has never used such widespread and public media to spread its message.

Thanks to the Mormon Church’s “I’m a Mormon” campaign, Times Square billboards are no strangers to a religion’s ad campaign. But Knowledge’s other media platforms are and they represent Scientology’s departure from the spiritual realm where religions are supposed to live and its entrance into the commercial-marketing world. Although Scientology is often mocked, I believe other religions can learn from its use of advertising and modern branding. We live in a time when work is replacing religious institutions as the place for social connections (Einstein, 331) and religious membership is dwindling. In many regards, the current religion system is broken. Perhaps it’s time for religious leaders to take advantage of modernity’s offerings and learnings. Brands realized long ago that they need to attract and engage customers to survive. Religions are no different. They need members. Perhaps religions, not just ones like Mormonism and Scientology, should reconsider their marketing strategy.

 

 

 

 

SOURCES

Borzak, Ilana Rae. “Digital Divinity: The Mormon PR Crusade.” Web log post. Http://blog.laughlin.com/. Laughlin Constable, 3 Apr. 2013. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.

Borzak, Ilana Rae. “The Church of Marketing.” Web log post. Http://blog.laughlin.com/. Laughlin Constable, 17 Dec. 2012. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Cook, John. “Cult Friction.” Radar Online. American Media, 23 Mar. 2008. Web. 4 Mar. 2013.

Einstein, Mara. “The Evolution of Religious Branding.” Social Compass 58.3 (2011): 331-38. Web. 4 Mar. 2013.

Orth, Maureen. “What Katie Didn’t Know.” Vanity Fair Oct. 2012: n. pag. Condé Nast. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Poggi, Jeanine. “Are Scientology’s Ads Aimed at Recruitment or Retention?” Advertising Age. Crain Communications, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Ilana R. Borzak

Digital Divinity: The Mormon PR Crusade

“What’s your favorite advertisement?”

I hear this question a lot. From friends, family, and people like Mike, the guy who sat next to me on my last flight. At this point, my response is instinctual. [Pause]. Then respond, “the ‘I’m a Mormon’ ad campaign.”

“I’m a Mormon” isn’t known for its success. It never won any prominent awards nor is it particularly successful in transforming the public’s general perception of the Mormon religion. In fact, most of the buzz the campaign generated criticized both the campaign and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the “LDS Church” and “Mormon Church”). Despite these opinions, I admire the campaign because it not only provides clear insight into both a religion’s perception of itself and its desired positioning, but it also challenges our general understanding of how a religion functions.

The “I’m a Mormon” campaign launched in 2009 when the Church’s longstanding tensions with the American public were amplified. During this time, the Church and its members were taking an active role in the political sphere (ex: Proposition 8 and Jon Hunstman Jr.) while shows negatively depicting the religion, such as Big Love and Book of Mormon, were hurting the religion’s reputation. The media did not respond favorably and the Church turned to global agencies to help them with their image problem. The resulting campaign’s strategy is clear: depict the Mormons as an open and all-accepting religion. Members who defy the ‘Mormon stereotype’ (not just Republican, white, and well-educated) weave their personal stories and beliefs into compelling video clips. These were posted in taxis and on billboards (including two 40-foot billboards in Times Square), phone booths, and YouTube. Every ad directs the viewer to a then-newly revamped website — Mormon.org — where pictures of smiling Mormons from all ethnicities welcome the visitor. The site also provides a forum to chat with a Mormon hand-selected based on information one shares with the site. On every page, the visitor is urged to learn more about the religion. Regardless of whether the Church’s base intentions are retention or recruitment, the Church uses this digital-heavy advertising campaign to extend a friendly hand to the secular community of today.

The Mormon Church’s use of a multi-million dollar campaign shifted the religion from our American understanding of the Sacred to the Profane.  American culture and its understanding of social categories are influenced by its Puritan-Protestant beginnings which distinguishes between a physical and spiritual world. Grounded in these beliefs, American culture understands that spiritual institutions, or in this case religious ones, do not employ commercial tactics.[1] To some, the LDS Church’s use of an ad campaign transformed Mormonism from a consecrated American religion into a commercialized brand, like Gap or Dollywood (for which the LDS Church’s agency is also an Agency of Record).  For others, it eroded the distinction between the religious and commercial world. The advertising forced people to accommodate their schematic understanding of the relationship between advertising and religion, Mormonism, or both.[2]

I believe that the Mormon Church was fully aware that the “I’m a Mormon” campaign communicates more than its basic strategy. The Mormon Church’s public embrace of modern forms of communication that major brands of today’s world freely employ separate it from other more ‘traditional’ religions. Time will tell but I believe that while the “I’m a Mormon” campaign might not have accomplished its perception changing goals, it does mark the beginning steps in revolutionizing how we understand advertising and religion, or at least how a religion uses media.

And that is why “I’m a Mormon” is my favorite advertisement.

 


[1] In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber speaks about this phenomenon in his native North Europe where Protestantism is common. He argues this point when describing the rise of capitalism in this area.

[2] Peter Berger’s Sacred Canopy goes into great detail about how a nation’s worldview is shaped by a certain set of common assumptions.

Ilana R. Borzak

Riding the slipstream

It’s Monday morning after the Super Bowl. Your feet drag as you walk into the office. You stop by your desk to put your bag down and then charge towards the coffee machine. You pour your first cup of the day. The guy who is always wearing a short sleeve button-down shirt regardless of the weather approaches you and starts chatting about his favorite ad from the game. You take your first sip and before you go for a second, you look up and spot a small group of people heading towards the coffee machine that is not even two feet behind you. They pour their coffee and join the conversation.  Two minutes of commercial-mentioning pass:

GUY WITH BUTTON DOWN (GWBD): How much did that spot cost to air again?

WOMAN FROM CUBICLE NEXT TO YOU: The average price for thirty seconds of Super Bowl air time is 3.8 million.*

GWBD: That’s just for the airtime. Don’t forget about the added costs of actually creating the commercial.

Conversation ensues for another minute until GWBD mentions his workload and everyone returns to his or her desk.

 

The nearly four million-dollar price tag is the highest amount the networks have ever set. Many marketers, such as the creators of Go Daddy’s commercial, point to the volume of conversation their ads created on social media to justify the multi-million dollar price tag. But does a brand need upwards of $3.8 million to take advantage of Super Bowl hype?  Not necessarily. This year, two brands got people talking without a huge price tag:

Oreo Takes the Cake 

Oreo cookie has been declared the winner of the Super Bowl’s blackout, beating other brands that used the power outage as a marketing opportunity. Within minutes of the power failure, @Oreo tweeted a photo of an Oreo cookie in a lit corner against a black background. White text under the cookie read: “You can still dunk in the dark.” The satirical, simple, and relevant message resonated with frustrated viewers, most of whom used the interruption to check their Twitter feed and revisit the snack menu. At the time of writing, the Tweet had more than 16,000 retweets and more than 13,000 related news articles. The photo’s production cost was minimal and the media buy was nothing.

Even with the considerable cost associated with setting up a war room for senior management and the client, this social media execution still cost significantly less than a Super Bowl commercial would. And it got people talking.

The Commercial You Didn’t See

Old Milwaukee Beer’s Super Bowl antics are not novel to 2013. For the past couple of years, Will Ferrel has been writing and starring in “crazy fun commercials” for the beer. He spends very little on production and shoots all of the commercials in small towns like Terre Haute, Indiana. The beer company airs the commercial during the Super Bowl in small markets like North Platte, Nebraska, spending very little on media. They then post the video online and allow the powers of the internet to take over.  The beer company’s adept manipulation of the Super Bowl hype brings awareness to the brand at a low cost. And, despite its affiliation with the hyper-commercialized Super Bowl, they successfully maintain their branding as an underground beer. At time of writing, the 2013 Super Bowl ad had more than 3 million YouTube views and nearly 7,000 related new articles.

 

A huge budget is not a requisite for owning a piece of the Super Bowl conversation. True, some of the bigger spenders own a larger chunk of the conversation, but that’s okay. Perhaps ideal. For a brand like Old Milwaukee, a multi-million dollar commercial isn’t appropriate for the image they are working towards. Their method fits with the brand and thus provides a high value at a low cost. Plus, we benefit from brands like Old Milwaukee Beer and Oreo by seeing how creativity, ingenuity, and wit can take a brand places that no money could ever buy.

 

*Note: While quotes are direct, characters are fictionalized

 

 

Ilana R. Borzak

Like Ripples in a Pond: Driving Brands with “Why”

 

 

The Golden Circle. It’s how author Simon Sinek visualizes a person’s decision making process. The “why,” representing a higher cause, directs the outer circles. The “how” ring, or value proposition, and the “what” ring, the process that realizes the “how,” are intuitively guided by the Circle’s core, the “why.”

Successful businesses and leaders, Sinek says, follow this pattern. They start by giving people a reason to believe in them before offering practical details.  As a brand, Apple started with a purpose: to challenge the status quo. This “why” drove the design and innovative technology found in all Apple products — the “what” and “how.” In turn, people believe in the company’s cause and allow their actions to follow. They overlook Apple’s executional blunders (ex: the antenna on the iPhone 4 and Maps in iOS6) and continue to believe in its cause and show religious-like devotion. The pattern can even be seen in historical events. As a civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gained prominence for his beliefs and convictions, not the specific plans he laid out for achieving civil rights. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech (not “I Have a Plan,” as Sinek jokes) attracted over two hundred thousand supporters who believed in his purpose and allowed it to guide them to DC. His legacy lives on well after the passing of Civil Rights Act just as Apple’s will even after their market share wanes. Sinek concludes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do.”  Communicating from the inside out drives behavior and creates long lasting relationships.

Recent studies in psychology and biology reveal the distinction between meaning, the “why,” and happiness, the outer two rings. Achieving meaning is allowing the “why” to drive the “how” and “what” and often necessitates a person to sacrifice along the way.  On the other hand, happiness is an emotion for the present. It is achieved by fulfilling fleeting needs and desires and then it fades as a person’s needs change, much like how a business’ “what” and “how” must evolve as the culture and technology around it change. The pursuit of meaning, researchers find, often counteracts “happiness” but ultimately leads to increases in overall well-being, life-satisfaction, and self-esteem.

We as marketers often speak about creating long-lasting and meaningful relationships with our customers. Advances in our understanding of the human mind point to the necessity of a brand or company standing for something people can relate to, believe in, and trust. This purpose, the “why,” should be the starting point for a brand. The details will follow.

 Sources:

  1. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/
  2. http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html