Will your brand survive?

Business is no longer about incremental differentiation.

It’s about making a real difference. It’s about making people’s lives better.

If your product or service or startup or whatever is not adding meaning to people’s lives, you’re not going to be around much longer. People are no longer settling for whiter, brighter. It’s no longer business as usual.

Institutions are crumbling. God forbid you should be an American bank. In the past month alone, consumers have moved $60 billion out of Wall Street and into credit unions. Rapacious banks who profit at the expense of others are no longer acceptable.

A recent brand survey by Havas Media has found consumers clamoring for more from business. What business has been able to give in the past is no longer good enough. The survey spoke with 50,000 consumers in France, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, China, Japan, India, and US. Two findings jump out.

1) 20 percent of the brands people interact with have a positive impact on their lives.

2) 80 percent of brands could disappear entirely without them noticing.

This is not airy fairy hippy stuff. This is cold hard numbers. Essentially 80 percent of capitalism could disappear tomorrow and no one would give a shit. It wouldn’t be missed. (Actually, that’s probably not a bad idea. Just wipe off 80 percent of businesses that are wasting everyone’s time.)

Making your product or service a little bit better is not going to cut it. It’s skin deep, superficial. Differentiation is an industrial age concept. Those days are history. We live in a network world.

We’ve gone from differentiation to making a positive difference to people, communities and societies. Making a difference in human terms.

How do you do that? By amplifying and enhancing human potential.

Not with financial engineering to artificially pump up the third quarter numbers, but by amplifying and enhancing human potential.

Not by lobbying to change legislation to bury toxic waste next to a public school, but by amplifying and enhancing human potential.

Not by making the logo bigger or increasing the media spend, but by amplifying and enhancing human potential.

Communications are intrusive and interruptive costs and taxes that people have to pay for. We try to make them entertaining so they’re a little less annoying. But they’re still a pain in the ass.

They get in the way and slow everything down. They tend to be self-congratulatory in the case of advertising or self-centered in the case of public relations. Or somewhere in between in the case of design.

But imagine if communications became something that gave real benefits, that gave ways to improve people’s quality of life.

Imagine if communications made your life better.

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