A Quiet Revolution: How To Approach Marketing More Mindfully
An egg that breaks the record for the most liked Instagram post within days. The Fyre Festival that sells out within weeks with the power of influencer marketing with no real luxury event in sight. The entire story of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes, who became the world's youngest self-made female billionaire without having a viable product. These are just a few examples that demonstrate that “everything is possible” in the world of marketing.
Inspired by the stories of overnight success, some marketers scrape data from social media platforms, buy mailing lists, followers and likes, and double down on clickbait content trying to find the most creative and cost-effective strategies that drive instant results. While these tactics can temporarily create an illusion of instant success, they hurt your brand in the long run. It’s time you stop giving into the growth-hacking promise land and embrace the quiet revolution of mindful marketing.
It’s not about meditation
You do not have to get into a downward-facing dog yoga pose or sit still for 10 minutes before you start writing a mindful marketing plan (although having a consistent meditation practice can help). It's about tuning into the present moment, becoming fully aware of your thoughts and actions and practicing non-reactivity. So how can you bring mindfulness into your work as a marketer and how can it help you build a successful brand?
It’s about awareness
Our marketing efforts often come from the external pressure to go fast, deliver and perform. A mindful approach to marketing encourages us to become aware of what drives our behavior and decisions.
Take a moment to explore not only your work as a marketer but also the story behind the brand you are building. What does it stand for? How does it truly help customers? What marketing heritage does the brand have? And are certain marketing decisions made automatically because "that’s how it has always been done"? By bringing awareness to your work, you can set up the baseline for building the brand in a more impactful, mindful way.
It’s about a beginner's mind
When you become aware of the automatic thinking and actions behind how your brand is built and positioned, look for opportunities to practice a beginner's mind.
Ask yourself "what if?" more often. What if you did not try to be present on all the social media platforms and chose only one? What if you started showing the team behind your brand more often? What if, instead of running a seasonal sale, you told your customers and followers how your product is made, what your supply chain is like, how it impacts the lives of those who make the product and why it costs what you sell it for? What if, instead of second-guessing what product to release next, you ask your customers and truly listen to what they say? Keep challenging your thinking and embrace the freedom and creative energy that the beginner's mind brings.
It’s about building a human-centric brand
Traditional marketing focuses on the product you produce and matching it to a consumer, either by finding consumers that might need your product or creating that need and generating the demand.
Instead of obsessing about a sales funnel for your product, focus on creating a human-centric brand with a clearly defined set of values that your customers can relate to. When people can connect with your brand at a deeper level, and when they value the help your product or service brings, they are more likely to become long-time supporters and ambassadors rather than one-time buyers. Authenticity, vulnerability and compassion are the mindfulness principles that can help you on this journey.
It’s about letting go of comparison
Another important concept in mindfulness is letting go of whatever is holding you back. That might be negative thoughts, past experiences or anxiety about possible future events. And avoid comparing yourself to others.
It might sound counterintuitive, but letting go of comparing your brand to other players in the space will give a competitive advantage. When you spend too much time and energy on monitoring and analyzing the work of your competitors, you automatically react to what they do. Instead, find your way and focus on the value your brand creates for your customers. Instead of playing a constant catch-up with your competitors’ game, focus on building and growing relationships with your customers.
It’s about being patient and taking one step at a time
It’s really hard to be patient when we are bombarded by overnight success stories. It’s important to remember that brands love talking about their success and very rarely reveal the real challenges and failures that happen behind the scenes.
Mindfulness teaches us to show up to our practice every day, take one step at a time and trust the process. "Good luck telling that to my boss," you might say. But when you consistently put in the work, avoid the noise and invest your time and energy in the right areas of your business, the results will follow.
It’s about taking time to play
Not many people are aware that playtime is an essential part of a mindful approach to life and work. By allowing your brand to embrace the humor and adopt a warm, fun and playful tone of voice, you are contributing to the authenticity of your brand and tapping into some of the fundamentals of human existence: the desire to connect, relate and be happy.
The fundamental principles of mindfulness are so easy to understand yet they can be hard to bring into our day-to-day work as marketers. It requires a mindset shift, not only from the marketers but also from the people around them. Together, we can make this shift toward meaningful and impactful marketing, helping to elevate brands that make a difference.
The article was originally published in Forbes.