The Importance of Empathy in Branding


Brand matters. But the landscape of branding is changing at lightning speed, and many marketers are blind to this next phase in consumer culture. But open-minded design thinkers know what's up: weaving empathy into the branding process is encroaching on the design process faster by the minute.

What do I mean by this. No, it's not woo-woo metaphysical jargon. People are bombarded with ads, and are starting to really hate it. The idea that they are being sold to. But branding, the emotion of what they're connecting themselves too, is more alive than ever. Aligning ourselves with brands helps us define who we are to ourselves and those around us. What we crave is for marketing to HEAL us. Make things simpler for us, understanding our needs and wants rather than forcing us to break into a mold. It's not about selling at this point anymore. If a person sees you're selling, they're going to shy away. Why? Because they're looking for brands to give way more than they sell. And only in this way will marketing add to the value of branding from here on out.

The selling era is over. It's been way over for a while now. Giving is what's up. Design thinking involves giving true worth, beauty and usefulness. Giving provides empathy, helping those in branding connect to the people using their services, information or products. People don't want to be sheep anymore, they want to grow into who they really are. It's not just about researching how to get people to buy stuff. If a marketer is not giving something in return that's of true value, they're going to flop.

Taking design thinking seriously in business is necessary today for brands to be able to flourish. It takes someone who thinks not of the bottom line, but of the triple bottom line: people, planet and profits. A new world is one that empathizes with those inhabiting it.

The End of Mad Men


It comes as no surprise that the official announcing of the next and last season of Mad Men comes during the same month that Business Week publishes the Design Issue where "Good Design is Less About Taste But More About Integrity". These words couldn't be…well…closer to the truth. It signifies the future.

In a world of corporate advertising buffs soul-starved on Madison Avenue with the mass exodus heading to Brooklyn in wild herds, the idea of the media bowing for integrity in design is a sigh of relief among all designers, creative experts, and entrepreneurs alike. Finally, FINALLY the world is noticing!

Because truthfully, communication is not meant to seduce the public. Communication should really be about sending a message of honesty. Of a world better served. That the be-end-all of sharing is not necessarily for profit, but for principle. For giving with a cause in mind. Because the world is bigger than a bubble.

And for this, I call upon a revolution. To honor beauty and utility (form and function) as a measure facilitated by true goodness. That we create not just for profit, but for higher purpose, one that is meant to actually make a difference in the world.

This is why I'm here. To speak to you about a life well lived where design and business are meant for the pure at heart in today's digital age. Because I know that navigating can be tough, especially as you don't know who to turn to anymore, who to believe.

I believe in honesty, integrity, and beauty with a purpose. Please join me on this path, won't you? The world is relying on you.