The Beauty of an Ocean
Lessons in brand building and team management, first published on Frankaffe.
I sat beside her, staring at the vast expanse, listening to how the ocean had her enamored. It seemed like such a promising story. We were experiencing a story that wasn’t all visible, left us asking for more. A vivacious one, its crashing waves were not gentle to handle. A credible one, for ships could set sail for days at end.
I have beheld oceans. Women with a shrill laugh who could hold a conversation so intense, I sipped at it like fine wine. Teams with just the right balance, resolving nagging issues with rabid speed and ingenuity. Brand stories so compelling, it made a stranger want to know the people who built those.
What makes an Ocean
For me, the strength of being what it is — managing the combination of shallow currents and immovable beliefs. An ocean is at peace on a calm beach where people have fun, it is in its element far out, when a ship overturns on a stormy night. No one blames it to be a stream, no one blames it to be a stubborn mountain.
Waves are prettier to look at, and can be stirred endlessly, muse for poetry and thought strains. Depths stay solid, out of sight, out of artsy conversations, out of fashion. Waves grab attention. Depths are made of fundamental realizations. Waves make noise. Depths are silent. Waves throw you ashore. Depths pull you in, make you theirs.
What makes a Team
Striking a balance is crucial. Not everyone can lead with a frenzy, not everyone can keep the fringe elements together. You need a different skill set to navigate, to man a crow’s nest and to hold the rudder. You need someone with facts to hold ground, you need a wild wind to invade new territories. You need someone to whack down dissenters, you need someone to heal their wounds and have them fight under the same banner nevertheless. You need a warrior, you need a monk. You need the strength to be responsible as one unit and deliver as one.
What makes a Brand
The experience is crucial. What people go through while interacting with the people and communication representing the brand makes everything happen. Serving to a demand led market is the short term agenda, where focus remains on manic competition and thin margins. Customers often leave for a better price elsewhere, and they leave easily for the value being offered by you is similar to value being offered by competitors.
It’s like humoring the folks on the beach, and it all ends up being a matter of small waves and big waves. Children clap, sandcastles get washed away, surfers run towards the sea only to ride new waves. What’s the point of being an ocean if mortals don’t quiver with fear, don’t experience your sheer might? People forget that you are the same ocean they experience on every seafront, as they keep switching looking for better waves.
Sailing into a value led market allows you to explore the depths of creation, dabble with the intangible, and helps you make the most at every point of sale. Customers stick with you because you understand them. That’s because you have studied how they live, you have studied how they think, you know what they do and you have managed to effortlessly be a part of their life, and offer a solution.
Sailors swear by the ocean, they cannot do without it, that’s because the ocean became an integral part of trade & exploration. It provided food, the routes, a sense of adventure and belonging. It gave life, and it took some. It helped us discover new lands and new people, satisfied our thirst to be greater than what we are. The ocean managed to simply be, thus ensuring that people sought to sail through it, and aligned itself with something much deeper than just fun.
The ‘Seny Rauxa’ Pull
I find myself sitting for hours at end, listening to her, and to the ocean. A lot depends on our perception towards things we experience. My views on the company I’m keeping, my views on the life I lead and the products I use. My priorities are case sensitive, and I have the liberty to assign personality to inanimate brands around me. Even for an ocean, I could easily imagine how the depths and the waves would be, if they were people. If we understand how people think and slip into their lives, adoption of a service would be a natural process, without a need to incentivize them for its usage.
Strategic Pokes the book, shares the combine of two opposites as embedded in Spanish Art. “Seny” means rational and “Rauxa” amounts to crazy energy. This crazy seny rauxa culture is alive in Spain’s 20th century art forms. As explained quite eloquently in this book, the digital technology has made today’s world quite seny, that is, logical. But the seny rauxa blend creates the essential pull amongst the customers, which ensures that they are not indifferent to your brand.
If we could be comfortable with our own lightness and depths, perhaps it would make us better people and better companies. Being proud of either one of the aspects throws off the balance, and we miss out on making the most of what we have, either of the traits gets ignored. Understanding how complete we are and celebrating it, allows the flexibility to be relevant to each audience :)