“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”
― Howard Schultz
One of the fundamental questions we all seem to struggle with is ‘who are we’? The next question is ‘Why are we here’? The problem with those questions is that they assume that we are static. They give the impression that there is a final destination. There isn’t. As individuals we change every day. The colors, trends and styles we find ourselves attracted to evolve as well. They are a reflection of the conditions, events, emotions, relationships, language and mindset of a population at any given moment in time. They are purely impressionistic and fleeting. The popularity of a thing can only remain so as long as that thing can resonate with a group internally. As humans, we only have so much energy to give. When we decide to give that energy and attention to something, we do so for a reason. On the surface, it may be because a color, pattern or a shape gives us pleasure. The reality is much more complex. The truth is that most of what we experience and feel happens on an unconscious sensory level. Our reaction to something is really tied into a lifetime of circumstances recorded within our brains. Almost none of this recorded material is accessible to the conscious mind. We are attracted to things that stir up a memory or a connection to the past that causes us to see or feel or think about something in a new way. This happens on both an individual and a collective level.
The most well known and enduring brands excel at tapping into the collective psyche and then monitoring the changes they produce within a customer base. As long as they are able to stay ahead of the trend, they can produce the next product or service based on those changes. Brands fall apart when they lose touch with their collective customer base. Disconnect is death to a label. Getting back lost momentum is nearly impossible. But that isn’t always a negative thing. Beginnings and endings are a natural and necessary progression. The trick is to know when to let one thing go in order to allow another to manifest.
There is a reason that the initial quote in this post resonates for me. It is the next big trend. We appear to be going through an all encompassing branding death on a global scale right now. As human beings, we have reached a planetary level of awareness that the current way of doing things is no longer working. The population as a whole is tired of a handful of corporate brands dominating everything. The individual has been lost. I am predicting a renaissance of sorts. What will the brands of the future look like? I think they will be as unique and varied as the people who create them. They will be based on real stories and people following their own passions. Current marketing and ad campaigns for big companies and corporations focus on making up a story to gain our trust and elicit an emotional response. The next successful brands will not need a fictional story line. They will be our stories. And they will consist of those who tell and show us how they came back to center by following their intuition and their dreams. Breaking away from the trends will be the next trend.
Sustainability is the key. Personally, I think mass production is going away. In its place we will see a society that buys less, but buys with a conscience. Family and community will be the cornerstone of all of it. We can no longer live in a world where we are expected to sacrifice quality of life for someone else’s brand and vision. We live in an abundant world. Creative energy does just what the phrase implies. It creates energy. This forms a positive and expanding feedback loop. The more we create, the more that becomes available to us, both energetically and physically. It turns the finite into the infinite. So support your favorite small business or build one of your own. Your brand is the next trend when you are authentic and true to what’s in your heart and spirit.