A mental alignment with others who share similar beliefs can offer a sense of community, make us feel connected, open boundaries and bring new energy and newness into our lives. It can be democratizing. Psychologically, this sense of community is also one of the major tenants of self-definition, as being part of a group gives meaning, emotional safety, and identification. The influence is also bi-directional and reinforcing. Fueled by increasingly powerful technology, we are increasingly realizing the power and wisdom of the connected collective. This is our modern paradigm.
What’s also become clear today is that this ‘connected collective’ build modern brands. Tribes of like-minded people aligned by something other then (and bigger then) the brand itself. A unifying, overarching idea or movement facilitated by the brand. Indeed this is the era of the brand as incubator, steward and shepherd.
The bottom line is that to succeed today you need to translate your brand attributes into nothing less then a social movement. An informal grouping of individuals focused on a specific political or social issue, in other words, on carrying out, resisting or undoing a social change. It’s much, much bigger then your brand. It’s a shared mission or purpose and has to stem from the essence of an idea that people feel passionate about. Something shared, credible, valuable and contagious that resonates with consumers and by proxy ensures an emotional link and organic connection with your brand. Therefore, you can see it’s far more about what your brand extends the tribe (and how it validates and elevates its members) by association. It’s the most important reason your brand matters to consumers. To further demonstrate this point, we’d suggest watching Simon Sinek's and Seth Godin’s inspiring TED Talks.
The MINI Space Story
BMW’s Mini brand clearly understands this. They created MINI Space; an “urban initiative born of a dream to provide the online creative community with an inspiring framework for making "Creative Use of Space," in the original spirit of MINI design.” The MINI Space mission is to “dedicate ourselves to the motto "Creative Use of Space" and provide a hub for connecting creative people, events and competitions.” Twitter and Facebook further extend a “hub for connecting.”
Whether New Testament, Torah, or Koran, all major religions are movements built upon a heft of history and stories. MINI Space is no different, explaining to its tribe that, “way back in 1959, the MINI was designed to make maximum use of minimum space. Not only was it a highly functional, exciting, new kind of car, its compact form also addressed urgent contemporary issues like declining energy resources: the original and ultimate creative use of space. As creative people living in an urban landscape, we are constantly thinking of new ways to explore or re-imagine the spaces around us in more functional, beautiful, and accessible ways."
To MINI, that means creating a forum for meeting people who share a passion for creativity; fostering unique competitions like the MINI Space Product Design Competition in Association with Fatboy; keeping up with events like the annual Life Ball AIDS benefit; getting updates about new creative initiatives and trends worldwide on their blog; and even more. As part of this commitment to creativity and innovation, MINI Space puts a high priority on staying on top of trends, and growing and changing with the times.
Kudos to MINI, as they’ve not created yet another fleeting brand moment. They’ve created a movement. All around the:
One powerful unifying, overarching idea (facilitated by the brand) that seeks to aggregate and align like-minded people by extending something other then (and bigger then) the brand itself. Very impressive indeed. Check it out the website, Facebook, and Twitter.