I picked up the wrong year to move countries.
The truth is that in the last two months, I have travelled from the fairly safe Iceland to the proverbial calm Britain, and from there to the highly shocked and shocking Spain, and back in reverse order. That journey has brought me a lot of uncertainties, a tendency to quarantine wherever I go and the opportunity to apply all the meditation, awareness, inner child therapy and panic control techniques I have learnt in the last years…
In this long pilgrimage, full of cancelled flights, rescheduled flights, delayed flights, change of plans, change of airports, change of companies, masks, regulations, emotional roller coasters, joy and concern…I have been considering where brands are and what is branding adding to people’s lives in a moment in which we are all reviewing our priorities.
In March, just before covid’s blossoming in UK, I took a flight to Reykjavik from London. Waiting there in the big halls of Heathrow, with other few terrified passengers – no one knowing if we would fly- I remember the immense silence over us, a weird silence that was the only thread connecting us.
There, in the strangeness of the first masks regulations, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the giant screens displaying a new lipstick colour from a British luxury brand. I remember the models showing the little box with the lipstick in different ridiculous poses. And that video playing in loop felt out of place.
I will always support a constructive, creative and if possible playful attitude towards any difficulties in life (if the valley of tears arrive, go through it in style), and I understand the video was scheduled to be there, but the pomposity of that video at the start of the pandemic made me think in how disconnected from people many brands have become, how the language they use, the stereotypes they suggest, and the messages they give have been way outdated.
I believe brands need to be authentic, and even if their aim is to connect emotionally with customers, other companies and investors, I would expect that -and work for- this connection to be made through authenticity, ethics and empathy instead of artificial poses and outdated depictions of success.
Many of us are reinventing ourselves and our businesses right now, and maybe the lesson we can learn from the situation we are living is how can we, our businesses and our visions help for real.
Once we learn this, we can talk business, work on the strategies, outcomes and customers behaviour.
Let’s create brands that inspire us and make us dream by being authentic, honest, creative and helpful.
Life goes on, and it is wonderful. Startups are still born, individuals with projects, courage and a vision are putting themselves and their businesses out there, regardless of what is happening in the word. And branding is the ice breaker for them. So…
How can branding help people, organizations and companies that need to reinvent or launch their business in these rocky times?
How can brands help individuals and society with their needs in a more collaborative and sustainable way?
How can we, people working in branding, help building healthier economic structures?
How can what I write here help?
These are the questions flying around my head now. Luckily, those flights haven’t been cancelled.
Take a look at this video. What do you think these brands are offering? Are they helping? Share your thoughts in the comments.