We see brands everywhere and anytime, whether we want to perceive them or not. The world we live in is flooded with brands; and only the meaningful ones know how to make us engage in a relationship with them. We choose brands for a variety of reasons. Some brands we choose because they give us status, some because we find their manufactured character appealing, some because they embody heritage, some because they reflect our lifestyle; and some we choose simply because they are most familiar to us.
Nowadays, trust is the most important cornerstone in brand relationships. After all, these are not casual tête-a-têtes with meaningless product promises, but emotional relationships. Sometimes even very intimate ones with a lot of magic, because they are built around fundamental beliefs and ideas. This is what makes a brand a feeling, not a thing. These expectations that people have of brands are essential because they drive their behaviour. And as humans, we always try to act in accordance with our beliefs. Observing people's habitus is therefore an opportunity for brands to take a look at the more or less visible beliefs of their target group. Not to manipulate, but to create moments of encounter and companionship and to establish intimacy.
People are always searching for meaning: In what and how (much) they consume, in the work they do and; in the way they shape their everyday routines and, last but not least, in the way they approach life. Attitude is a motto of the avant-garde and now plays a major role in an intergenerational social milieu. The basic questions brands need to understand are two interrelated aspects: what is happening in society; and what is triggered in people as a result. Only then can a brand develop an attitude and translate it into messages or channels.
Brands do not exist in an isolated vacuum. They live in a world where the only constant is change. Therefore, it is fundamental to embrace the social dynamics and cultural context that determines the relevance of the brand. This requires an accurate view of what is happening in the markets and in society in general and how social thinking and behaviour is being reshaped. The driving energy can be climate change, technology, generational change, politics, social issues, business trends or any combination of these.
Companies are founded, shaped, managed, and transformed by people — not by emotionless tin men. Here, too, we as people are individual. So it seems only understandable that the way we encounter, view and do business is shaped by aspects of our self-image - our personality, our character and our values.
As consumers, we can't help but humanise brands; and we do it all the time. It is simply in our nature to make sense of information and create points of connection between what is in front of us and what we already know. So, in order to create a brand that is loved, a company has to live up to the tendency to humanise a brand. The company needs to know not only what it sells, what the brand stands for and why it actually exists - but also who we, the consumers, are, what we do and what we want to see, hear and feel. The monologue (king) is dead. Long live the dialogue (Queen).
What is so fascinating about being human is the ability to use emotions to create or change value systems about ourselves and others around us. Shared Emotions give us a sense of connection. We share hope or fear about our surroundings; and we feel overwhelmed by parts of our own lives. And when someone helps us overcome these feelings, we feel relief and confidence.
People are driven by emotions. Because no matter how much we tell ourselves we are rational: many, if not most, of our decisions are based on feelings. That's why we love the brands that make us feel better, that inspire us, that accompany us and that confirm our emotions and beliefs. We desire brands that reflect our self-image of today and tomorrow. Because they make us feel like the "me" we already are or the “me” want to be in the future.
So if we ask ourselves what a brand really is, it’s relatively easy to answer. Brand is emotion, brand is gut feeling. That is all that matters in the end. We all feel emotions because people are emotional and intuitive. At the same time, life is increasingly complex and fragmented. That’s why we need clear statements that convey a feeling and give orientation and direction. And: we need a focus on the human being. What meaning can a brand have in a modern society? And what responsibility do we as protagonists bear for a future worth living?