Brand thinking is hard.

It can challenge the way things have always been done and force conversations that aren’t always comfortable to navigate. It can come in stark conflict to your business plan and cost you lots of time, energy and money.

Brand thinking is hard, yes…and it’s necessary.

As the Millennial Generation quickly becomes the primary force in consumer spending, our marketplace is shifting. Shifting from a transaction based economy to a participation based economy.

Our primary thought-currency no longer has a defined value, but instead, a perceived value. Customers base decisions on an entirely different set of criteria: they don’t just want to buy your brand, they want to be a part of it.

As our market changes, so must our thinking. That’s where brand thinking comes in.

Consider for a moment the emergent success of companies like PinterestWarby Parker andBetaBrand. Each of these companies has demonstrated success in providing value in the participation economy.

They’ve started to model what it means to join a customer’s story rather than disrupt it. They’ve moved from an interruption based model that prizes numerical force and frequency to an engagement based model that prizes relational force and engagement.

These companies have embraced brand thinking.

What Is Brand Thinking?

The core of brand thinking values:

  • Personal gestures over big promises,
  • Interaction over reaction,
  • Engagement over interruption,
  • Co-creation over mass consumerism. 

Why? Because brand thinking starts with an understanding that companies, markets and crowds don’t define a brand.

Brand thinking embraces the notion that people define brands. One by one. Human by human. And if people define brands, then brands have to become more human and less machine.

Who defines your brand? What do they think about you? Where are you participating with their story? What value does your brand bring to the participation economy?

These questions quickly springboard an organization into brand thinking. And brand thinking quickly springboards an organization into creating value in the new marketplace.

Brand thinking is hard, and necessary; so get started today.