Friction & Brand Relationships
The more I work with businesses and the people that lead them, the more one undeniable truth stands out: the depths within each person remain more unknown than known.
It’s a curious paradox that we often think we understand others, even when we haven’t truly grasped our own essence. This self-awareness deficit extends beyond the personal sphere; it permeates our businesses, shaping how we approach marketing and connect with our audience.
To authentically comprehend the individuals on the other side of a transaction, we must embark on a journey of self-discovery as a company. This involves unraveling the fundamental mysteries that define our identity: Why do we exist (Purpose), what is our grand vision for the future (Vision), and how do we plan to embody these values on our journey (Values)?
The absence of this foundational understanding creates a stumbling block, hindering us from achieving what expert relationship psychologist Esther Perel aptly describes as the rubbing.
“The rubbing, the living in close proximity with another person that helps you know who you are in the presence of others, that’s the piece that we are noticing in our work.“
This rubbing creates friction. Friction is essential for creativity and growth. Growth and creativity are imperative catalysts for humans and businesses to thrive.
At its core, marketing is a creative act—a canvas where we express the experiences and stories of our brand. And, as we all know, the most magnificent creations emerge from the friction. Just as your creative process thrives on it, so does your marketing process. It’s about the art of engagement, finding the perfect point of connection that benefits both your business and your customers.
Embracing this friction allows us to draw closer, enabling us to understand our company as it evolves in the dynamic presence of others.
But marketing should never be flat, one-dimensional, or linear. It should be a multi-faceted, ever-evolving narrative, occasionally unsettling and endlessly expansive. Leaders should support and challenge marketers to push edges and take chances. Marketers should challenge their own perspectives and encourage you to hold multiple, sometimes contradictory, ideas about the people they serve.
Why? Because marketing is about forging relationships — with others and, equally important, with ourselves. When executed thoughtfully, it serves as a crucible, developing our identity and redefining our understanding of the world. It compels us to confront our biases and the status quo — including our own.
In marketing and brand evolution, complacency has no place. It’s a dynamic journey that demands constant adaptation, self-reflection, and an unending quest for self-awareness. To authentically connect with your audience, you must first connect with your own identity. You must deeply fathom and operationalize the “why,” the “what,” and the “how” of your company’s existence.
Welcome the friction. Embrace the discomfort. Recognize that marketing is not a one-size-fits-all formula. And your brand isn’t for everyone. It’s a creative journey that beckons your attention, authenticity, and willingness to evolve.
Executing with care will not only unveil the core of your business but also prepare you for genuine, profound relationships—both professionally and personally. Because, ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.
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If you want a more trusting team, a culture of belonging or a magnetic brand that attracts more of the right customers, I can help. If you'd like to explore if working together makes sense, drop me a line.
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