Archives For brand as purpose

brand as future



I wonder, I wonder what you would do if you had the power to have everything that you want.

A new iPhone — the new iPhone 10 — with a PERFECT LIFE button. With just a touch of this button you can design for yourself the most perfect life. The perfect job. The perfect partner. Perfect kids. A perfect pet. Perfect weather every day. A perfect home in the perfect location, with perfect furnishings.

Imagine now that you do have this power; the power to create your perfect world. And imagine you’ve had this power now for a few months. What then … ?

Methinks that after a few months of ‘living perfection’, your perfect life would start to feel a little predictable. Stale. Not as interesting. Kinda boring. Flat. And that’s because if you want guarantees in life, then you don’t want life — you want rehearsals for a script that’s already been written.

Life, by its very nature, cannot have guarantees, or its whole purpose is thwarted. Otherwise we’d all buy plastic roses that last forever and have children that never act like children.

And so the new iPhone 10 would soon be superseded by the iPhone 11 — now with a new SURPRISE! button.

Thank God I’m alive!

brand YOU


Money or the Box? How money alienates you from the things that matter, and what to do about it.

A few years ago a client of mine gave me a copy of a book called The High Price of Materialism. It’s written by a psychologist called Tim Kasser, and he spent many years studying the effects of “materialism” [money + stuff] on people and their wellbeing. His conclusion:

A strong focus on materialistic pursuits not only distracts people from experiences conducive to psychological growth and health, but signals a fundamental alienation from what is truly meaningful.

In plain language, this means that the more attached and/or obsessed we are with money and buying and owning stuff, the more we stray from the things that matter.

Drawing on a decade’s worth of empirical data, Kasser shows that people whose values center on the accumulation of wealth or material possessions face a greater risk of unhappiness, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and problems with intimacy – regardless of age, income, or culture.

As our materialistic values go up, our pro-social values go down. As our materialistic values go up, our pro-nature and the environment values go down. As our materialistic values go up, our self-esteem becomes more and more contingent on the money we earn, and the stuff we own.

And [get this], Tim Kasser also found that the more people are exposed to the media, the more they espouse materialistic values. That’s because every day we are bombarded with messages from politicians and economists about the importance of consumer spending and growth. Consumerism drives you and me to earn more and own more stuff, and [for the most part] it dominates our lives. Brad Pitt said it all in The Fight Club: “The things you own end up owning you”.

There is a way out of this paper bag, and it’s quite simple really. Look inside yourself. Look inside and do a little digging around until your discover your intrinsic values. Your intrinsic values are the things that motivate and inspire and feed you because that’s who you are, as a human being. Not because of the promise of an extrinsic reward.

And as you look inside yourself, here’s the million dollar question to hold close to your heart: “What really motivates me?” Am I really motivated by rewards and praise? By money? By rank? By constant affirmation? Or am I really motivated by a deeper, more personal sense of accomplishment? By doing stuff that is an expression of who I am? By knowing that what I do matters?

Motivation is personal and intrinsic, and workplace studies bear this out all the time. Salary is NEVER the top driver of employee engagement or satisfaction. Sure, we all need money to pay the bills. That’s an important part of the contract. But money is not what makes us tick. The KPIs for the new people economy are respect, autonomy and independence, a sense of purpose, to doing work that challenges and grows me, and to feel that I am making a difference.

So, what are you going to choose, “Money or the box?”. And it might be a bit of both, which is fine. As long as you don’t let your whole life be ruled by the money.


brand as purpose


The Story of the Rabbit that Got Away

A dog spotted a rabbit and started chasing him, but the rabbit got away.

Seeing this, a goat stopped to gloat at the dog.

“Too fast for you, wasn’t he?” he sneered.

“Why are you surprised?” said the dog. “I was chasing him for fun; he was running for his life.”

Moral of the story = Your performance depends on your motivation.

— a tale by Aesop

Two brands not afraid to make a stand

Here are two brands making a stand against Donald Trump’s policies and executive orders – Diesel and Airbnb.

There will be people in USA who will boycott both brands. That’s going to happen. And yet, despite that, these brands know that being true to who they are and what they believe is more important than being all things to all people.

First the Diesel spot, MAKE LOVE NOT WALLS, directed by David LaChapelle:


Then the Airbnb spot, WE ACCEPT, which they aired during the Super Bowl a couple of weeks back:


While the Airbnb spot looks like it’s been pulled together pretty quickly, it comes right out of their heart and brand purpose.

Airbnb’s brand essence is “Belong anywhere”. And they walk their talk. For example, when you first sign up for Airbnb you have to agree to this statement:


If you “decline”, you cannot use or host Airbnb. Wow, talk about making a stand. And when Trump signed his executive order on immigration in January, Brian Chesky (CEO of Airbnb) took to Twitter with this tweet:

airbnbYep, that’s the CEO of Airbnb telling people to contact him directly if they need housing. His tweet was liked more than 187,000 times, and retweeted 110,000 times. Airbnb has since launched an emergency program to house refugees and stranded Muslim travellers for free, with tons of people responding to the appeal.

Personally I admire and love brands that are true to themselves and their values, and are not afraid to make a stand even in the face of opposition and adversity. And yet, as an Australian, I am left struggling to think of an Australian brand or two that’s prepared to stick it’s balls on the line for what it believes in and stands for.