The key to meaning is empathy: the ability to step outside one’s own life and see the world from another’s perspective. In both branding and leadership, the value of this ability cannot be underestimated. Both areas depend upon engaged followers. Engagement only comes when followers see leaders connect the dots between their personal needs and desires, the goals of the business, and the greater good.
Brands and leaders that are inward-focused and self-absorbed fail to connect with people who are increasingly attuned to the needs of humanity and the planet. This puts them in a precarious position. That’s because these people are increasingly applying these altruistic criteria to the products they buy, the brands they support, and the companies for which they choose to work.
The result for brands? More meaningful competitors steal your customers and profits. Your brand’s real and perceived value drop. Your brand’s ability to attract top talent diminishes.
The result for leaders? Those you hope to have as followers drift away. Your reputation for generating results suffers. You experience defections and cannot hire the people you need.
When people see that what’s lying behind your brand or leadership is an honest effort to use business in a positive way that will pay them emotional dividends and address their altruistic concerns, brands and leaders thrive. Of course, meaning is easier said than done, and must flow from a sincere and authentic base. It must be routed in the truth as nothing more readily violates the social contract than lies and deception.
You are born with empathy.
It’s there within you, waiting to be rediscovered.
Pull it to the surface, apply it to your business, brand and your leadership thinking, and discover the power of truthful and meaningful connections that positively change the way people think, feel and act.
Additional reading: Transforming business: the four faces of empathy
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco Branding Agency.