“Connection” is a core human need. It’s something that without, as humans, we can become incredibly unwell mentally. Historically, the feeling of connection was experienced through tribe. There was a purest era when communities were made up of a cohesive tribe that created an environment to survive, celebrate, and procreate. Dancing around the fire, hitting drums, and moving the body in a variety of authentically expressed ways.
You will see this expression of connection (being in a tribe) represented in a variety of ways today. Many marketers, like Seth Godin, will speak to tribe and community as a formation of customers centred around a common belief system, interest, or message. “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, to a leader, and to an idea”. – Seth Godin, Tribes https://www.audible.com/pd/Tribes-Audiobook/B002V59XXW
Central to this concept, and reality, is that there is an idea of which the tribe with CONNECT over. Without that central concept, there is no tribe. Back in the age of the saber-toothed tiger, tribes connected over survival. Surviving appeared at that time as food, water, and shelter. As time has past and technology has evolved, the need for connection has deepened with the multitude of connection-intentional products leading to a greater level of disconnection. “One study showed that social connection is a greater determinant to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure”.
Brainspire shares that “increased isolation, reduced social interaction and social skills, and increased human-to-machine interactions are all a result of an overuse of technology, which has created a wall between many people globally. “What we have in place of geographically static connection through your local tribe is an abundance of geographically disparate connections. This leads to the question, “which form of connection is valuable for the human spirit?”The campfire has been replaced by social media. Consider that groups of people who go camping together, sit around a fire and talk, usually return to normal life feeling recharged, grounded, connected. Imagine this was your daily experienced, as opposed to once-twice yearly?The challenge here is that the more people we connect with at a distance, the shallower the depth of connection. Have you ever been face-to-face with someone, looking deep into their eyes, and felt like you really know them? An exchange occurs that brings you together. Much like making love versus masturbating. You may feel sexually energised watching porn, but having sex with a person is completely different. This is a rather astonishing way of looking at connection in today’s world versus traditional tribes.
This study https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316, published by PLOS Medicine, actually cited that “people with stronger social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships”. So deep connection actually makes you live longer…Already you’ve now learned of the contract between ancestral tribes and that of the modern-day. Despite attempts to increase connection, the sheer volume of “connection-methods” has decreased the positive social impact intended by broadening the social net that any person can cast.
Brands have a social responsibility to foster connection with the people they interact with. As mentioned by Seth Godin, there needs to be a central idea or concept that people gather around and connect with. That idea or concept then invites socially-associated people to form a community. A shared set of beliefs, interests, and passions, that unites individuals and creates the connection which helps people live longer.
Social responsibility presents an energetic connotation that you are required to do what is required to be socially responsible. Instead, the invitation we see is that all leaders have an opportunity to deepen the connection with their brand, and their customers, by integrating a core idea or concept that other aligned people can connect with too.
By no stretch of the imagination is technology going anywhere. This BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16536598 article predicts that in the next 100 years communication will take place telepathically, meaning that our devices for reaching others will essentially be replaced by an evolved form of our brains. Maybe… let’s see. Anything is possible. The point is that technology is going to continue evolving, and with the desire for more tech to be human-centric, making handheld devices increasingly redundant, our ability to connect will lessen, and the very thing trying to extend our life expectancy will create the opposite. At least that’s what the research report from PLOS Medicine discovered.
The social responsibility then, of a brand, is not to feel obliged to be responsible, but rather explore why this matters to them at all. And if it does matter, how this could be shared with their people (customers and team) to create a positive social impact. It is 100% possible to create a sense of the ancestral tribe within most brands. In one way or another, every brand that has customers can strategize their way into delivering this. At Thynk, we do this by helping clients build these tribes. We focus on social impact as a brand outcome (one of many), and we’ve discovered that every brand that chooses to deliver a social impact reaps the reward by deepening the connection between their team members, and their customers back to the brand.
Events are a powerful way to create connection. Our client, WPN, does exactly this by running WPN Sessions.WPN Sessions are community events launched by clothing label, WPN, in 2019. These events have been run across Australia and Overseas as a way of giving back to the community. The brand’s mission is to help men prepare for whatever life throws their way, be that mental, physical, or emotional. This is their way of making a difference and creating a community of empowered men.Another client, the Alpha Code Academy, actually baked connection into the brand. They’re a men’s development academy teaching men how to thrive in all areas of their life. They run 2x weekly Workshops where students and graduates gather online, with video, to share their challenges, their personal development journey, and connect deeply whilst geographically separated. This use of technology is a way to start serving connection, as with ancestral tribes. A future progression for this brand could be running events face-to-face in local communities too. Let’s see.
A group of people central to an idea or concept creates a deep level of connection that serves in the survival of the human race. The more true connection experience, the better quality of lives. And what’s one thing that people in this world connect over? Brands.
Money is of course an enabler here. Without the funding, brands don’t exist, let alone deliver a social impact (replacing social responsibility with choice). To address this, very simply, here’s a formula that works for brand leaders.
Find your why so you have reason to get up in the morning
Turn your why into a purpose that really drives you (purpose-driven)
Now driven by purpose, determine how this drive you have can deliver a social impact.
People with then gather around you, also driven by purpose, hungry to be on the receiving end of that social impact. These people then tell their friends and spend more money.
This is how and why you may find it interesting to explore connection in your brand. It serves humanity. And the most powerful way is through social impact.