My personal brand purpose is to help organisations, around the world, make meaning and live it every day. But over the last few months I've been pondering how organisations can best make meaning today.
To clarify, when I say ‘make meaning’, I’m referring to creating significant, well-intentioned moments for people, which delivers on an organisation’s brand promise to create long-term trust and demand for its brand(s).
What I've come to realize is that meaning doesn't come from language – carefully selected words to create branded statements or tag lines, which can be overturned and made irrelevant with one slip. Take for example RBS during its 4 day process failure, an incident that caused serious consumer doubt in its Helpful Banking ethos; or Toyota, in 2010, with its massive recall due to clutch-failure, making its ‘Moving Forward’ line irrelevant. These examples prove that what we were taught growing up - actions speak louder than words - still remains true. But meaning doesn't come into full form through action alone, rather it involves interaction.
To create meaning, it involves doing something for someone, which isn't a passive experience. Rather, it’s very much an involved experience, and this is clearly an expectation for people today and even more so for those of tomorrow.
Clay Shirky's quote in reference to his 4 year-old niece going up to the TV to try and swipe away an advert, says it all:
“Media that's targeted at you, but doesn't include you may not be worth sitting still for”
But this concept is not new, rather, it goes back to the days of Benjamin Franklin where he said:
“Tell me and I will forget; Show me and I might remember, Involve me and I will understand”
So for organizations to make meaning today, they need to create interactions with its customers that both adds value to their lives and delivers on the brand’s promise to establish long-term demand and trust.