5 Brand Mindfulness Practices That Will Make You a Better Marketer
If you caught our most recent webinar, you’re familiar with these five brand mindfulness practices. If not, don’t worry! We’re sharing some takeaways today. The webinar was called Brand Mindfulness: An Everyday Practice for Marketing with Meaning, and it was hosted by author and Cognition Studio Innovation Director Margaret Hartwell, and Craftsy Director of Brand Copy Elizabeth Ellis.
In it, the two brand experts unpack the idea of “brand mindfulness.” Hartwell and Ellis explain that, at its core, brand mindfulness is an approach to branding that returns us (as marketers) to a present, conscious, purpose-driven state. This allows us to bring our most complete imagination, passion, and compassion to the creative work of relationship building. By tapping into certain mindfulness exercises, marketers can find a more fulfilling way to realize their creativity and produce really great work.
We’ve got five of Hartwell and Ellis’ mindfulness practices outlined below, but we encourage you to hear the full webinar here!
5 Brand Mindfulness Practices
1. Live Your Brand Mantra
This can be as simple as connecting to the meaning in your brand tagline or slogan. Your brand mantra should be an anchor to the vision you have for your brand work — embodied in a single piece of language that you can return to again and again. Some of these mantras are triggers toward deeper values, and they should embody the mission and purpose in everything we do.
Hartwell and Ellis recall REI as a great example of this practice. For their much-revered #OptOutside campaign, the outdoor retailer shuttered business on Black Friday, simply because it aligned with their brand values. Most recently they tapped into a cultural undercurrent in a way Pepsi tried and failed to do. REI’s latest catalogue boldly states that they’re going to make the outdoors the “largest level playing field on earth.”
A brand is about helping to move bigger societal issues along, and REI has found its sweet spot by staying true to their brand values. Try choosing one word, playing a certain song, or finding something that triggers what it is to be inside of and embody your brand.
2. Live Your Brand with All Five Senses
Visual representations of your consumers help with this practice. Consider keeping props around your desk to put you in a more tactile mode and get you better attuned to what matters most to the audience you’re serving. Or try shared experiences. Shopping where your consumer shops, watching the shows they watch, and reading what they’re reading are all more immersive ways to walk a mile in their shoes.
Mrs. Fields lived this practice by pumping the smell of freshly baked cookies outside their stores. And everyone walking by had an immediate reaction to the warmth and welcoming aspects of fresh baked goods. The senses are a way of connecting our bodies and our minds to the brand. It creates a sense of being connected on a human level.
3. Leverage the Power of Language
One of the most important brand mindfulness practices is choosing your words carefully. Creating a vocabulary and lexicon for your brand, and becoming the purveyor of using these words within your company, is crucial. First, know how you refer to your audience and always hold them with respect. Target is famous for not having customers, consumers, or shoppers. They only have guests and that is how they refer to their audience internally and externally.
It’s also important to ignore the jargon. There’s enough of that in marketing! As marketers, we know when a word has lost its meaning and entered into jargon territory. When you resist and seek words that have true and accurate meaning, you’ll create a more compelling and meaningful message for your audience.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” — Mahatma Gandhi
4. Through Discipline Comes Freedom
Be disciplined so that you have the time and headspace for doing creative work. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can be busy or remarkable, but not both?” One of the keys to being remarkable is staying organized. We want to dwell in big thinking, but most of the time, we end up dwelling in logistics. Where’s that logo? Do you have a new logo? Did I send the right logo?
If you want to commit to brand mindfulness practices, you must also commit to organization. Brandfolder is a great resource for taking out that clutter and removing busywork from the daily schedule of creatives.
5. Find Your CENTER
The final brand mindfulness practice is a breathing exercise to stay centered. With each inhale, you state the phrase in the first column, and with each exhale, you breathe the phrase in the second column.
I am – Completely stopping
I Expect – nothing
I am in service to – Name (what you’re in service to)
I Trust – my resources
I Embrace – this moment
I Return – with strength
This exercise is a way to stay grounded, return to your brand values, and focus on what matters.
Stay Mindfully Attuned to Your Brand
These five brand mindfulness practices are not the key to overnight success, but they are important daily exercises in becoming a more centered, focused, and fulfilled creative marketer. When you step away from one or all of these practices, your brand becomes more lucid and more in danger of being misconstrued or miscommunicated. Or worse, you become at risk of losing the relationship you’ve cultivated with your audience.
Check out the full, on-demand webinar below for more on brand mindfulness and cultivating productive creativity!