Meditate Your Way To A Stronger Brand
In my last post we talked about leaders making brand decisions based on fear. I gave you three steps to cultivating awareness in order to overcome that fear. Today we’ll look at how more awareness leads to a stronger identity.
In his book, Building Better Brands, Scott Lerman breaks down an easy to digest framework for leadership to follow. It all begins with Character because, as he states, “we need to understand character before we make choices about where and how we go to market. And identity isn’t a driver of brands, it is a container of brand meaning whose definition is best left for last.”
As a brand consultant, I love discovering new and unique ways of helping my clients communicate their value through strategy. However, if your container holds fragmented pieces of a message or if your container is just plain empty, so is your identity. No amount of graphic design or marketing is going to fill that container with substance until you figure out who you are.
Enter mindfulness and meditation.
As someone who has practiced mindfulness for the past twenty years without knowing there was an organized movement around it until about five years ago, I can tell you it’s instinctual. Once I became more informed about what the scholars were saying, I couldn’t get enough. I now regularly practice Transcendental Meditation and it has transformed my life in ways unimaginable.
Not the kind of trust that says I can deliver something they lack. More an inner trust that they hold the answers.
I tell you this as a testament to the power that self-discovery and awareness have in creating more of what you want. As Lerman says, “Character, not identity, comes first because it drives all of the choices made by the organization.” When working with clients it is this ‘character,’ or archetype, that we focus on from the beginning. I do this as a way for the client to become empowered by their story, as well as creating a foundation to build from. I want to know about the person or company sitting across from me. I want to understand why they choose to do what they do. I want to help them step into a place of creative expression.
This requires trust. Not the kind of trust that says I can deliver something they lack. More an inner trust that they hold the answers. I’m simply guiding them to more expansive awareness of those answers.
Trust is the single most important quality to establish, as a brand or individual. However, we focus on externalized means to form that trust. We look to someone or something else to provide us with certainty, security, inspiration and love. We have management acting as gatekeepers afraid to let go of control in fear of being devalued. According to a 2013 Gallup Survey, 70% of people are “actively disengaged” at their job. We build businesses around the idea of ‘compete’ rather than ‘create.’ In a time where the transparency of all things is increasing, we are still hiding our true self from those around us.
In the June issue of Mindful, Arianna Huffington talks about her idea of the “third metric” of success; personal, professional and societal well-being.
While leaders pour their energy into a traditional view of success, science continues to show the benefit mindfulness and meditation have on the brain. Not only does it improve overall physical health, mindfulness aligns our critical decision making with our authentic inner self.
Yet, the sense of ease that comes from mindful living is not something to be acquired and applied like a magic cloak. Just as a brand is built over time, so too is the practice of self-discovery and awareness. It can only be uncovered, not forced. It requires vulnerability, not shame. And it is a continual practice.
So how does this help in developing your brand?
The concept of “soul searching” is no different than developing your brand. It starts with you. As I previously stated, companies are made up of individuals. They make decisions based on their past experiences and fears. If we can cultivate awareness in the individual first, we can spread that through an entire company.
By slowing down and being present, you can focus on your individual ‘character’. By asking questions such as, what are my fears? What triggers me and why? What do I want? What do I really need? And what am I supposed to be learning from this moment?, you are given the opportunity to look deeper inside yourself.
Just observe and bring light to those questions. Don’t judge yourself and your answers, simply observe. Observation without judgment is key to any act of awareness. It’s the difference between authentic discovery and telling yourself what you want to hear.
If you can become more mindful towards yourself, you can breed a mindful company with a sense of purpose. By asking the same questions, you can begin to make brand decisions in more authentic ways.
As the great thinker and teacher J. Krishnamurti said,
“When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy—if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation.”
As a brand strategy consultant, Jason strongly believes in business as a force for good. Bringing a rare balance of strategic thinking and design thinking, he helps clients achieve business objectives through the discovery of purpose. Utilizing a mindful framework to develop a compelling ‘why,’ Jason confronts brand development at its deepest and most meaningful levels. His experience has taken him from industries such as magazine publishing, UX and product development, non-profit sector and startups.
When not working, Jason can be found hiking, camping, snowboarding, SUPing, or on the AT. For more info on how a mindful approach to brand strategy can help your startup, visit JGarvale.com, emailJason@JGarvale.com or call 941.504.4089