Crisis reveals pretense. So the days of hardcore, tone-deaf, insistent and interruptive marketing are over. That kind of marketing does not matter now.
It doesn’t matter to the extent that marketing with old ways in this new world will do more harm to a brand than not marketing at all. By harm we mean: if you market with pretense, with disregard for human beings, with a stringent and simplistic focus on the bottom line, the clients you have are going to cancel, to be turned off, to ignore you, to mark you spam.
The other kind of marketing, the one where you are communicating, inviting, informing and inspiring your audience, now matters supremely — now and far into the foreseeable future.
A door to the collective souls has been opened and your audience wants to be guided through. So for the emotionally intelligent, soulful, heart-centric marketing leader, now is your time to shine!
Maybe you’ve already been doing this kind of marketing. Or maybe you have been trying to move your leadership into this approach to marketing without getting full buy-in. Or maybe you’ve dipped your toe into this marketing spa and haven’t built your strategy fully around it.
Good news: the time for full buy-in is now. The time for a long soak in the bubbling comfort of humanistic marketing has come.
Because the kind of marketing that speaks truth, that states where you stand, that provides value for your audience’s heart and mind, that is what now has impact, resonance and staying power for the next generation.
Here’s how you practice humanistic marketing:
You put the humans first. Before you go thinking this means your audience, pause game. This means the human you, then the human in the organization around you, those on your team, the humans on the leadership squad. Think of you, think of them. Would they be moved by your message? Would they respond to that call to action? Would what you are doing serve you, too? Then extend that line of thinking out to your clients, your audience, and go from there.
You share a message from the heart. Unlike the bullshit of the pre-pandemic world would have you believe, your message is not what people want to hear, what would be palatable to the great masses. Instead, your message is what is on your heart that you simply must share — like a belief, a conviction, a core truth. That message makes up the critical foundation of your brand. You’ve got to find it, take a hold of it spiritually and then infuse it into the organization’s culture and marketing.
You speak the truth. When you screw up, you tell people. When you fall short, you share that, too. When your clients have great success, you share those successes as well. Do not try to be relevant in the post-pandemic world by spin-doctoring like mad or covering up what you really think in favor of a more popular version of your organization. It won’t work and it’s bad karma, too.
You share honest differentiation. What makes you different? Not the things you put on your last piece of collateral, but the things that you see every day on Zoom calls and email exchanges and in your warehouse. As it turns out, these true internal differentiators are felt and experienced in the client experience too. Focus on articulating what those are and sharing them across situations and platforms.
You understand the spiritual needs of your audience. We are spirits having a business/work experience. So what does your audience need spiritually? If this seems like something beyond the scope of your product or service, think again. We suggest that love and trust are part of the mix. Dive deep into what your audience needs as spirits, as souls, and you may learn something about how you are serving them.
You tell stories. New and old, rusty and gleamingly novel, storytelling is what powers the most impactful brands, be they presidential campaigns, human rights movements or the latest Nike ad. Replace your efforts at finding the perfect description of your services with efforts to tell the best stories about your brand: this includes internal stories and external or client stories. The reward is great.
Humanistic marketing will be done now and moving forward. There is no going back to the old ways.
Of course, there’s still a need for ROI, lead generation, KPIs, etc. You still need good data. But they are all secondary to having your brand be a light in the world.
Imagine how much less money and energy will be spent NOT marketing pretense or by undoing the damage pretense created. That’s the ROI of speaking the direct truth to the world.
Imagine lead generation and market share being fueled by love, not false demand generation. That’s the ROI of being your true self as a brand.
Imagine your brand as a way for others to experience what you believe rather than a false image. That’s the ROI of true differentiation.
Imagine a community of clients who support you through the difficult times to come your way and who rally around your survival in one form or another. That’s the ROI of love.
Humanistic marketing is not a shiny new tactic. It’s a new way of thinking and behaving. It will not work if a brand’s leaders are not humanistic. It will not work if your employees don’t feel loved and valued. It will not work if you have a shitty product or customer experience.
As we said, crisis reveals pretense. But it also reveals the foundation. Perhaps in all of this you’ve found something inside of you that wants to burst forth. Maybe you’ve seen it in other leaders. Perhaps you feel a soaring sense of pride for the brand that you represent.
No matter what happens next, stay in this space of love and magic and art and market from there.