5 ways to Humanise your brand

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With the advent of social media, a new era has opened up for brands and with it a plethora of challenges. Brands are now directly in touch with their consumers interacting one on one. This is both an opportunity and complex at step he same time. Today companies have to step down from their ivory towers and don a much more human face to engage with their consumers. Today, humanising your brand isn’t a marketing strategy or a unique idea, its a basic requirement for your brand. Here are some simple steps to get you going.

1.Have a brand DNA and persona in place

The first step to humanising a brand is to imagine your brand as a human. Imagine your brand as a person and define his or her personality. What  is your DNA? IS your brand serious? Fun? Responsible? How old is your brand? Whats the tone of voice and style off voice? How does it react to various situations? What are the values? The clearer this is defined and educated across the company, the more cohesive and integrated the voice becomes. If the DNA is set in stone, then everything else follows easily. Remember consumers don’t buy products, they buy aspirations.

2. Create a content bucket

Instead of reacting on the fly on social media and across platforms, define what information defines your brand. What do you want to say? Avoid bombarding consumers with offers and discounts but information that is engaging. Define what your brand is speaking each quarter, what you will share, what you want to say. What does your brand believe in? What are you championing? Do you have a CSR program?  Whats happening behind the scenes? What trends will interest the consumer? Set goals and targets and measure results and effectiveness regularly and recalibrate.

3.Know your consumer

If you don’t know your consumer, you can never speak  their language. Who are they? What do they do in their spare time? What media do they use? What engages them? Do your homework and study the trends, gather user research and keep your eyes and ears open. Without an intuitive understanding of the user, the brand will never speak their language. If you are a brand attracting teenagers, you better know your demographic and their language and mindset before you connect  them and come across like a granddad at a beach party!

4.Be authentic and unique

A big no no for brands is sounding rehearsed and like a robot. Well rehearsed cold communication which sounds fake will backfire. Its alright to make mistakes and owning up and sharing your weaknesses authentically connects well with consumers. Apologise and make amends with complaints immediately, Share stories, little victories and milestones so the audience can grow with you and take ownership. Avoid automated messages and ready birthday wishes. A brand thats humanised will sound unique and connect and engage allowing the consumer to become evangelists.

5.Connect emotionally 

Brands that tug at your heart, make you smile, get inspired, laugh, think, act, cry or get goosebumps will install a deep ingrained sense of long term loyalty. Vitality is linked to emotional connects and people love to share what they liked and connected emotionally with. Humour always connects and engages. Stay politically correct unless your brand persona is otherwise. Finding common interests with your consumers based on your product category works. Continue this connection offline too as your brand supports causes, sponsors relevant events.

Remember emotional connectivity and engagement across every consumer touchpoint and deliver a humanised brand experience and watch your brand equity sky rocket.

What a beautiful and inspiring quote by George Bernard Shaw 

  

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. 

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.

I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.

-George Bernard Shaw 

What a beautiful thought and a clear philosophy to live your life by. I chanced upon this in a Robin Sharma video and was mesmerized by the words and it’s call to action. 

Life is about burning brightly each day. Robin Sharma in his video asks in a similar vein, what would you do if it was the last year of your life? 
How can we make each day epic and burn so brightly and own each minute as a magical gift. To be completely in the moment and be a beacon of energy and positivity doing what we love with unending passion and fun. 

Great thoughts…

  

5 ideas to make a life changing vision board 

  

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. 

Jonathan Swift

A vision board is a tool that has time and again helped me create a road map and clarify my own picture of where I want to be in the future and become a catalyst to achieve the dreams. I have scoured articles and books to know more about the effectiveness of a vision board. I have changed and tinkered with my goals and pictures over and over and what I want with my vision has organically evolved each time I created a new board. 

When I look back at all the road maps I set out for myself it’s amazing how different each one is and how easily I have floated towards achieving them soon after I made them. My initial vision boards were skewed towards material aspects and studded with manifestation of only wealth. Eventually there’s been a journey towards balance, health, family, happiness, work excellence, laurels and charity. Balance of work life and everyday happiness became the primary goal of achievement eventually. 

I have made and remade many vision maps and boards and found some that worked and many more that didn’t. Here’s 5 secrets on making a vision board that’s transformational. 

1. Know what you want

  

It is so important to know what you want for yourself. Close your eyes, project to the future and ask yourself what you really want. Then ask yourself what do I want this for? What will this give me? Why  is that goal is part of your dream? 

Make a list of your asks and categorize them once they pass your questions. Ensure every aspect of your vision resonates deep down within. 
This is an opportunity to truly introspect your ideal life 5 and 10 years later and have a crystal clear idea of what it looks like. 
2.Transport yourself to the future and live the moment 

  

What I learnt over the years and through discussions and reading is that the more clear you are of your vision the higher the possibility of achieving it. It’s important to be able to close your eyes and see yourself in an already achieved state. 

Be able to see the surrounding, smell the ambience, feel the textures, hear the sounds and play the movie in your head of yourself being there. For example if you are visualizing your dream home, every detail should be accessible in your mind. The walls, the furniture, the sounds, smell and the moments. See your emotions when you have achieved your vision, interact with the dream and it will increase the confidence in arriving at the destination. 

Even writing your dreams from an already achieved state  and with specifics helps accentuate the clarity of the vision. For example instead of saying “I want to publish a book by 2018” write down “By June 31st 2018, I have published my book titled ‘start up failures’ and 100,000 copies have been sold in the first year”. 

3.Create detailed visual boards across sections

 
Make vision boards for each category of your life and populate them with pictures of your dream. I have a few sections which I have evolved over time. 

Health, family time, travel, office and work, awards and accolades, hobbies, friends, dream home, dream office, dream clients and team, money, investments, friends and mentors, spirituality, toys and gadgets (car, brands, clothes, electronics etc). 

Creating vision boards across these categories have helped getting clarity under each section and makes sure the vision is complete. Involving the family and getting their buy in also helps cement these visions and enlist them as catalysts. 

It helps further to get yourself in as many pictures of the vision board. For example, if it’s a dream home or a car, go to the house and get a picture in front of the porch or seated inside your dream car doing a test drive. 
To make these vision boards, varied tools can be used. The easiest is to do the old scrap book method of cutting pictures and pasting on a board. Otherwise, Pinterest can be an amazing tool, PowerPoint or keynote your vision board. Once they are done, make them into a poster you can place somewhere that you can see every day is the best method to help actualising the dreams. Maybe on your bathroom mirror or as a poster in your office or bedroom. 

4.Make action steps for each board to achieve the same 

  

Often we make the mistake of making a vision board and expecting it to work magically for us. Detailing action steps to achieving some of these hairy audacious goals goes a long way in making them come true and giving it steps to reality. 

For example, if your vision is to write a book, your action steps would be:

a.finalise subjects in the next 3 months

b.start writing and keep aside an hour every weekend towards this from December 

c.Find an editor to work with

d. Attend the literary festival and find a mentor 
This should be applied across as many categories with tangible steps to achieve your 5 or 10 year vision board in bite size chunks. The trick is to dream without boundaries and make them big hairy audacious goals and then to break them down into practical steps to get there. 

5.Rewire your deep rooted relation  with success and prepare for receiving 

  

The biggest stumbling block to achieving success and our dreams are our deep rooted relation with the concept of success and money. We are all brought up with phrases we hear in our youth from family and friends. “Rich people are corrupt”, “you can’t be successful without hard work”, “money is evil” and many more thoughts and advice that slow us down without us realizing them. 
It’s important to work on being ready internally for the success that will come and prepare ourselves to embrace the future.  Our self fulfilling prophecy is engineered deep in the mind and every preparation will fail if we don’t believe or desire success within. 

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.

-Henry David Thoreau

Connected minds 

Once in a while, I let the monk get away from his solitude and mediate with others. The energy of connected silence i find visually and emotionally uplifting. 
In life too, we come across people who suddenly cross our paths, where you can immediately sense their aura, their positive energy and shared intent. Suddenly, there’s a connection like you knew them from a lifetime ago. People always carry their energy around them and this speaks way before they even utter a word.   

    
 

Givers gain 

 What goes around comes around. Goodwill is the most precious asset to nurture. Networking is helping others achieve their goals without expecting anything in return. The more you become a catalyst to people’s dreams and aspirations, the more the power of reciprocity kicks in. The secret is not to expect it and never to make that the reason to help.  

Letting go

To be in a place where you can mould your self without the baggage of the past. To be able to access, be aware of and then let go of everything which doesn’t sit well with our values. To be able to simply be in a state of equanimity and see situations and moments for what they are. 

To reach a place of equanimity, we need to let go. And for that that to happen we need to know ourselves. 

This sketch is a simplified depiction of the pursuit of letting go and telling ourselves that its that easy. Just let go.  

 

One of my favourite poems: Come to the edge

This poem by Christopher Logue is one of my all time favourites.

Its speaks on so many layers and is a great analogy on getting out of our comfort zone, to do things we thought impossible before and to take wings. How often have we stood by on the edge and not taking action with the fear of failure. tumblr_lzp9drvi7B1qzivpmo1_500

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We’re comfortable back here,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We’re too busy,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“It’s too high,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We’re afraid,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We’ll fall,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
And they did.

And he pushed them.
And they flew.

Christopher Logue.

20 Quotes every designer will love!!

 

Here’s a collection of wisdom converted into visuals. These are curated mainly from Pinterest and I don’t know the source for most. Each of them inspire and sympathise.Many of the visual quotes/ phrases connect and summarise the thoughts of a creative individual. Have fun browsing and add your list to them.

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The definition of business simplified in one line!

Danny Myers has set up some of the best restaurant chains in the world including shake shack. In his book “setting the table”, he defines business so beautifully. Within these words is an ocean of ideas. In essence, this is all an entrepreneur should ever care about.

He says:

“Business, like life, is about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.”

Wow!! Superb, simple and all encompassing.

Read the book. It’s an eye opener even for people outside th F&B industry.

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The magic of travel

You never know when you could find that moment, in the middle of a long flight, at a quaint coffee shop, standing in a vast field of flowers, sitting silently by a giggling brook, watching a sunset over the sea or walking through the clouds.

Suddenly, clarity sifts through and you have that epiphany, a wonderful aha that brings your life alive. That’s what travel does, it works as a catalyst and awakens the mind each time. It opens your eyes and expands the mind bringing back a better person each time you set off.

Here are some visuals that inspire and immortalize the concept of travel.

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The journey. A poem on unravelling spirituality.

This is a poem on the journey of spirituality. The quest for the spiritual man is to return to the purest form of an infant who we are born as. As life goes by, the scars of experience and the scab of the world erodes that angelic innocence.

How do we bring up our kids to grow up maintaining the integrity, fun and joy of childhood to their adulthood intact? How do we instill character that doesn’t need a journey back in time anymore?

The journey

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Two travelers set sail together,
An infant and his first cry
And an old man frail as a feather,
their lives on a perilous journey.

The baby was aglow like sunrise,
His skin like the softest fleece,
The world asleep in his closed eyes,
Tomorrow his world to seize.

The old man was the setting sun,
Wisdom etched lines upon his face,
Memories faded gently to oblivion,
His yesterdays escaping his gaze.

A white canvas lay by the infant,
It’s aura cascading with rays,
It was purity without a single dent,
A fiery white hue with a golden blaze.

A golden cocoon lay by his side,
A gentle womb nurtured him perfect,
His world was negativity denied,
A cloak of godliness did protect.

Tomorrow a gentle stroke of grey,
Strikes upon the canvas gently,
From within the love and play,
His happiness does momentarily flee.

He touches anger, fear and doubt,
As cracks form with his fortress,
He hears anger and elders shout,
And to earn love he must impress.

Time flies by on purposeful wings,
His peers, mentors and critics speak,
Life shares its barbs and stings,
The infant and his moment antique.

Responsibility sits upon his shoulder,
And so does ambition and greed,
His glow setting as he gets older,
Purity takes wings like a bird freed.

The old man was the setting sun,
Wisdom etched lines upon his face,
Memories faded gently to oblivion,
His yesterdays escaping his gaze.

The white canvas becomes his quest,
His mind filled with debris and dirt,
The glow has abandoned the nest,
His heart and negativity often did flirt.

His mind seeks the journey and a cure,
The spotless canvas now old and used,
He was the angel infant once so pure,
Spirituality, your map is so confused.

-Sajith Ansar

Pic by John French on Pinterest