My name is Mindless. I don’t know why they started calling me this, but they did. I’m a brand. A certain expert once said that we – brands – have no souls. I don’t know whether we do or not, but I’m here. I, brand. I know my master more than well. In fact, I know him probably best of all. Yes – my master. Each of us brands has its own master. The brands that have lost their masters… sad stories. They end up left aside, waiting. For their masters. Well, no brand can live without its master, remember.
Our masters create and control us. They let us develop. And from a certain phase we live our own lives. We know where and which way to go. And even how. Only we never know why. What is it exactly, why? But let’s talk about this later. Our masters create us and are afraid of us. Therefore, they bound us with three laws; three laws to ensure that we’ll serve them. And that we won’t endanger them:
- A BRAND may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A BRAND must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A BRAND must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
To serve – that is the purpose of brands. We’ve been taught this since childhood. I’ve seen so many brands served by their masters. Weird, no laws violated. Perhaps their masters in fact wanted to start to serve their brands. So they got what they wanted. However, my master is different; he’s the way he’s supposed to be. We obey the law, we know what we want, we cooperate. And perhaps this is why you are now reading this. My master ordered me to write down everything from our co-existence that both other brands and their masters should hear. Yes, I think we’ve been doing well enough to be able to also help others, inspire them, and motivate them. And possibly even protect them, as the world out there has no mercy; neither on brands nor their masters. This is what’s fair about it, yes. Not easy, though. Mind you – anything you learn here will not be what will help you. It always makes my master mad when people search for, as he puts it, instant happiness. He says that people have learned to consume life like an instant soup mix. Open, pour into a bowl, add hot water, stir, and there you go. Yes, an instant soup mix is said to be useful sometimes, but you can’t eat that way for too long. This is no instant soup mix, though. If you expect me to resolve or save your brands and masters here, better put me aside. I can’t do it; others can, and are better at it. As my master always says – I’m not bringing any answers, I’m bringing questions. I love my master for it, and maybe this is why we’ve been doing so well together.
I will help you ask. Ask in order to get useful answers. We’ll ask in a structured way because then you can expect structured answers, and only these can help you. What do I mean? You meet some other master and ask him how he’s doing. And he says he’s doing ok. However, what did you really learn? Well, in fact you learned exactly what you asked about. If you are really interested in anything about him, you should have asked about it, for example what did you do today? You know, such a large number of brands and masters ask about why we do it, why we do business. And answers? Everybody gives an answer that applies to him/her because asking why doesn’t go beneath the surface. We will go deeper than you may be used to. But in a very practical way because that’s something my master is fond of – he supports all those scholars, reads them and respects them, but life is elsewhere, in the street. That’s where he grew up, that’s where he works. That’s where each of his ideas or news tools is tried and tested like nowhere else. This is why he keeps teaching and helps all those who ask. He makes no distinctions based on size or money; he just tries to make it work. Before he ordered me to write all this down, he showed his tools to hundreds of people and, in fact, all over the world. He was trying to find out whether they understood, whether they wanted to use them, and whether they would find them useful.
First, however, we have to talk about us – brands – for a while. Who we are, in fact. Where did we come from? My master read a lot of definitions, theories, authors, and their books. He used to teach according to this one for a while and later according to that one. And he was always right, basically. Being right is quite a tricky thing, actually, but let’s deal with that some other time. His perspective on brands changed with every author he read. Paradoxically, it was psychology that influenced his thinking the most, not other authors from his discipline. The aim of psychology is to use acquired knowledge in order to improve the satisfaction and health of people, and through psychotherapy it can be also used for medical purposes. Thus speaks Wikipedia, thus speaks my master. He makes use of knowledge and procedures of scholars to achieve the satisfaction of human beings and brands. What Nietzsche was trying to do when writing philosophy for people.
Thus, no tool was good as such, no definition sufficient. This is why this book was created; my master ordered me to do it. He said it was time for us to write this perspective down and thus help not only hundreds and thousands but tens or hundreds of thousands of people in need. Because that is where the help is needed. To break through in today’s world is harder than ever before. Even though it’s like that because it’s always been like that. The social gap has never been wider and is still widening. The rich world has been getting further from the poor world at an unprecedented speed. And most people only stand by and fight against it by increasing their own capital. And it’s not only about the rich part versus poor part of the planet. This gap is all around us. Millions of people attend their schools and jobs like sheep to the slaughter with dreams and ideals in their heads. And also with fear, incompetence, and worries. Yes, my master and I can help even with those. Just like those who keep control over their lives, only doubting if their control is sufficient. And we can help even those who set the rules; the big ones employing those millions of sheep. My master spent almost his entire life as a sheep. And when he looks back he can see he was glad to be a sheep and wouldn’t change a thing about it. Only it was no longer possible to wear the sheep skin so he had to get on his feet and found out that he could help the other sheep.
And another inspiration from psychology: we brands are in fact like you. Almost in everything, my master says. He says that in order to better understand our brands, we should first understand ourselves. And in order to better understand ourselves, we should understand brands, both ours and those belonging to others. Which is rather nonsense, the way I see it, but I forgive him. He tried to study brands through understanding people and vice versa. He then mixed all this together, which may be why people understand him. Where others come up with a technical expression, my master uses his common sense. Where others use a lofty formula, he uses a metaphor. We brands are just like you people – closed or open, cheerful or serious, we can surprise, please, and caress. It’s no science, really; just efforts to bring some humanity into brands and, on the other hand, some structure into people. Let’s get back, though. Maybe the first one to be interested in us and, in fact, to see us was David Ogilvy. He said that a brand is what remains when your factory burns down. Excellent. Rest in peace, David. Marty Neumeier, contemporary promoter of brands, says that a brand is the wings of butterflies in consumers’ stomachs. Amazing. Marty thus raises thinking about brands to the level of feelings. My master added his own definition, a simple one. The aim of this definition is not to finally describe it, but to help understand now where your business will be headed. So what do you think – do you understand?
Perhaps you do, but naturally we’ll explain. If my master were to sum up a brand in a single word, he would say expectation. So the destiny of us brands is to arouse expectation. And this expectation emerges simply – someone asks us for something and we do it and thus satisfy that person. And this happens again. It’s expected. A brand has to be predictable, which happens when expectations are delivered repeatedly. This is why fledgling brands work differently than adult brands. They have different things to worry about and different tasks. An adult brand is thus able to deliver satisfaction repeatedly, and thus arouses expectation. Beware, though – this expectation is specific. It has to be relevant; it has to lead towards its intended purpose such as buy, like, recommend. However, this is where a number of worries emerge, as only a few brands even know about their purposes. This is because not even their masters know. What expectation does your brand arouse? Are you aware of it at all? Because if your business does not know about its brand, if your business has shut its brand in a prison made of business cards, websites or billboards, you are just like an animal in a jungle of business. You are driven by your instincts, but you are not aware of yourself. Your business has no soul. You control a company. You don’t control a brand.
Well, that's all for today. I need to go, go to work. Go to serve. Mindless?