In a recent New York Times article, philosophy professor Todd May suggested that life has a trajectory which can be conceived narratively.
“A human life can be seen as a story, or as a series of stories that are more or less related”, he wrote. And then he asked, “What makes a trajectory a meaningful one?”
This is important, May writes, because we find ourselves in an age of commerce, in which people “are currently encouraged to think of the themselves as either consumers or entrepreneurs”. May points out that this drive to be “shoppers of goods or investors for return” is rarely the stuff of which a compelling narrative is made.
We often write about the “quest for meaning” and we recognize that people are searching for it (among many other ways, of course) in the products they buy, who they buy from and who they work for.
What can brands do to raise above this barren age of meaningless commerce and become a truly meaningful element in people’s life trajectories?
To help brands become more meaningful to people, we help them answer the essential question “Why?” and its obvious sequitors:
- Why do you exist?
- Why is that good?
- Why does what you do, and how you do it, matter to people?
Once a brand clarifies the answer to these questions for the people who are its employees, partners, suppliers, customers, investors, etc., it starts to find a meaningful place in their “trajectory of life”.
Even as a small part of a meaningful personal narrative, a brand that is meaningful achieves a significant advantage over competitors who continuously fail to recognize what people are really seeking in the world today.