The Beautiful Brand.
Why the world’s best brands have their own gravity.
Have you wondered why Tesla, SolarCity and Elon Musk have gotten so much press in the last couple of years?
Skimming through headlines and social media feeds, these brands are among the most attention-getting brands in recent times. Rightly so. They’ve got some great innovation happening, and Elon is certainly a fascinating entrepreneur. Much of the stories and news reported on these brands stand in stark contrast to blemished brands like Volkswagen/Audi, Wells Fargo, and Uber.
Defining the Beautiful Brand
Business done right is an intentional and ongoing act of beauty; a creation that’s intended to move people beyond their current way of seeing, living and working. A beautiful brand, in this sense, works with the power of possibilities and moves people into a new and better reality.
By beauty, I don’t mean the westernized beauty industry definition, which is primarily focused on superficial physical adornment. Rather, by beauty, I mean the thoughtful and creative approach that stems more from the Japanese definitions of beauty, which includes symmetry, order, balance, and human creations that act with and are aligned with the laws of nature.
In this definition of a beautiful business, an organization operates as a creative and ever-curious entity. It works with a set of principles that are orchestrated with order. This beauty adds to our world. Tesla, SolarCity and Elon Musk are beautiful brands.
We, humans, are born as creative beings. Entrepreneurship (or purposeful acts of business creation) is simply one manifestation of human creative expression. All creative and artistic acts begin with clear intentionality. A purpose or intent, if you will, that ignites the drive for creative expression and the design to put that expression in the world.
In this creation process, business leaders intend, create, refine and put forward their business as a valuable offering to the world of their customers. In turn, their customers respond with deep attention. Here, in these intentional acts of beauty, the business leader is a maker, a craftsman, and a creator of beauty for the world to enjoy and benefit from.
Shifts to High-Touch
In the last decade or so we have seen a shift take place from the highly manufactured products and services to a value system that emphasizes high-quality, high-touch, personalized, beautifully-made, artfully-crafted goods and services. The maker movement which includes a well-spring of craft brewing companies, craft everything (I even saw a craft burrito storefront!), apparel, jewelry, and other goods and services, points to audience’s desire for quality over quantity and beauty over superficial. This is a human response to our highly digital world.
This trend also explains the heightened necessity for a strong user experience that is designed within brand expression elements that range from digital interfaces, packaging, events, experiences in nearly every industry sector, including, but not limited to consumer products, retail, hospitality and even in the B2B world.
The success of sites like Etsy, Quirky, and Skillshare, and the resurgence of maker-heritage brands like Levi’s, Timberland and LL Bean each, in their own way offer creation and beauty at their core. Many are built to serve the maker movement, which is primarily but not exclusively driven by millennials.
Most, if not all, of the world’s most valuable brands, which include Google, Apple, Disney, and Amazon, have a clearly defined purpose and their own gravity. However, a beautiful brand isn’t reserved for the world’s largest companies. Creating products and services that are built on the core tenets of holistic beauty are accessible to any company.
What the beautiful brand does:
- It captures our imagination.
- It attracts us and has its own gravitational pull.
- It is unignorable; we can’t turn away from it.
- It is felt as much as it is seen; it strikes us emotionally.
- It touches all of our senses; we feel it and understand it.
- It enlivens our lives and calls us into a closer relationship.
Knowing that your business works hard to attract more and more of the right customers, have you ever wondered what beauty your brand holds? And, if you know the unique beauty of your brand, have you intentionally woven it into how your company expresses itself, internally and externally?
There is beauty at the heart of every purposeful organization, part of our work is to mine it, harness it, and express it to your world.
Onward & forward — Better brands. Better business. Better life.
With gratitude, Steven Morris
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.