Do Brands Really Have The Power To Change The World?


Here is the one true thing I know about humans having studied them in action and been one myself for many years: we are essentially “good.” 

Whether we all know it or not, we share a light of truth that binds us to one another in a spirit of belonging whereby we all have the opportunity to thrive. This is fact. However, if you disagree with this fact, feel free to stop reading and I’ll catch you later once you have experienced proof of concept…
…which wont be long now.

So, yes it’s true that people are naturally inclined to be good. We know that. But for too many of us these days, that light is hidden in shadows or buried altogether. At least we think it is. We have a tendency – especially in the more economically developed parts of the world – to dive too deep into the distractions of daily life, letting the shiny things substitute for soul shine and forgetting that the good stuff is on the inside. I suppose we have started to forget we belong to one another –that we are love and we are loved.

But here’s the good news: light and love are contagious. They are downright virally infectious. When one human allows their light to shine through in its purest form, that energy draws out the light in others. It is a reflection of our highest common denominator truth and the more pervasive its exposure, the more effective its result.

That’s why I like working in marketing strategy. 

While some people might think marketing is the art of fabricating stories about a product, brand or company to persuade people to buy things, I see it for its potential to give and spread the gift of truth. It is the medium through which those who direct mass-communication can remind a world full of customers to reflect, empower and spread that truth.

You see, brands have an opportunity to be so much more than shiny things that might be granted the favor of our attention for a fleeting moment in our lives. Companies who market brands have not just an opportunity but also an obligation to be more than an idea attached to the stuff we use. They can and should be the fuel – the nuggets of energy we engage with every day that help us get stuff done, driving momentum for the positive social change that will allow all humans to thrive.

It really is a pretty simple concept to break down.

A Brand is an idea or collection of ideas that has cultural meaning represented in products, packaging and marketing communication as well as in the ways that the companies who market them conduct their business. When we see a brand sharing an idea that represents a deeply held human truth, we can feel that sense of belonging to one another being validated.

So, if brands can truly embrace and reflect the highest common denominator truths that exist in (for example) their most engaged customers, they can reach thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of other people with that same truth. This projection of highest common denominator values not only provides an opportunity for that brand to reach more humans in a relevant way that will actually help make a more meaningful connection with that brand based on demonstrated shared values, but also begin to empower humans to make more meaningful connections with one another.

Its also important to realize that getting at those truths is not as difficult as one might think.

As it turns out, humans like to share their truth – whether they tell you or show you through their behavior or you see it in how they curate their environments and even their brand and product choices. I have spent the last 16 years listening to eager market research participants share their stories.

I have seen proof that when a brand shows interest in really understanding the human truths their customers hold dear it creates a bond that builds love – the same way it happens when you are cultivating human relationships. Because we are inclined to bond with people who care about who we are deep down and allow us to shine.

So it stands to reason that when brands and companies seek to understand their customers’ humanity, they are not only building a bond that ensures a loyal following, but one that also puts a little more love out into the world.

Now, imagine if even half of the world’s gazillion brands were spreading that kind of light every day… to multiples of millions of people at a time.

Imagine the world we could create if people were empowered to radiate that kind of love and light and truth and belonging every day in their interactions with all of the humans they encounter. Based on the math alone we can see the big picture and it illustrates a very bright future for humanity.

Accordingly, my calling is to help find and spread this light and remind humans how much we belong to one another so we can get on the same path toward a better tomorrow. Sure, there are several light-spreading callings out there from music to religious practice to art and film. I choose work that communicates through the lens of marketing and brand culture – because I truly believe in its power as a force for good.

That brings me to our mission at Culture, which is to cultivate human connection in the interest of shared thriving.

We do this by strategically helping companies and brands connect their values to the highest common denominator values of their customers.  In the process of making that meaningful empathetic connection between company and customer, the humans who run these companies also get the opportunity to bring their own humanity into their work. It makes for better business and it makes for a better world for all of us.

So, yes, brands do have the power to change the world – by elevating the cultural conversation, because shiny things with fictional stories are simply disposable objects. But brands that share human truths in their communications and their business practices are love machines that can bring humans into the light and help us achieve the potential we all have to create the world we want to live in – one where we don’t live in fear of our ability to survive but rather embrace our power to thrive.


Image credit: The Global Movement Summit