I am a sucker for reading. A bibliophile of note. I love how you find the most beautiful synchronicities among the pages of vastly different genres and styles. And how you can use it to inspire your brand.
Yesterday, for example, I was reading an interview with Russian director, Andrey Zvyaginstev, in the Economist. As Russia’s most-lauded film-maker, Andrey says that he is fascinated by the human condition. He had a fable about God giving all things their place:
He (God) told the cliff: “You hang here”
And he told the tiger: “You stand here”
And he told the rock: “You stand here”
To the river: “You flow here” and so on.
When God came to man, he said “You will eternally search for your place in this world.”
To Andrey that is the human condition.
Interestingly, today as I’m reading something so completely different a similar theme crops up: That of the human condition… This time I’m re-reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (can you blame me?). Describing the power of union between the mind, body and soul, she says:
“The Yogic path is about disentangling the built-in glitches of the human condition, which I am going to over-simply define here as the heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment.”
Later in the same chapter, my friend Liz follows this up with:
“But the Yogis believe a human life is a very special opportunity, because only in a human form and only with a human mind can God-realisation ever occur.”
Then she says something that echoes Andrey’s sentiments:
“The turnips, the bedbugs, the coral – they never get a chance to find out who they really are. But we do have that chance.”
From this, I deduce that the elusive “human condition” centers around finding our place in the world AND being content with it.
This theme of contentment it important to me, as I’ve developed my personal brand to be known as ‘Liz van Zyl – The Content Writer’. The word “content” was very carefully positioned before “writer”. If you have a fair knowledge of marketing, communications and the digital landscape, you’ll think of content as “Content is both information and communication: the sum total of the freshness, readability, relevance, and usefulness of the information presented, and the manner in which it is presented” (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/content.html). But it’s also strategically referring to the act of being content. As if through writing, I am content.
My brand, thus, is inextricably linked to this human condition. To the struggle to find the self and tell that story. To the challenge of finding contentment and the joy once one days (even it if is for a mere fleeting moment).
When you understand your brand’s place in this world in an authentic manner, you understand how to communicate your story and connect with your target tribe (my slant on target market). That tribe will get your value proposition (if you are clear about it, of course) and will value that value. That, again, is the art of communication and marketing – both interpersonally and between brand and consumer.
PS: And as we enter this beautiful new season, isn’t it time we pause and reflect – spring cleaning our brands for what is set to be a wonderful sunny summer filled with opportunity to connect with our tribes.