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.