Thursday, April 10, 2008

Time to throw another brand on the fire.

Continuing to think through the ramifications of a global open society >> you are what you give away; you roam where your opportunities exist.

Where do brands fit in all this? They can be participants. They can be tools. They can be sponsors, certainly. But perhaps they could be most useful and meaningful, most valuable in terms of constancy, if they were to think of themselves as campfires in the wilderness. The gathering place where tribes come together for warmth, for rest, for reflection, to share stories of the day behind and the goals ahead.

As campfire, the brand becomes a vital focal point for gathering, for community building. The relationship to the community is one of fundamental support. The fire does not mandate the behavior or goals or direction of the community, it enables the community to survive and flourish. It provides a sense of place, a feeling of belonging and security.

The campfire attracts life because it sustains life.

The flip-side, of course, is that fire can kill just as easily if it is not treated with rigorous discipline and respect, if its natural role and purpose fall prey to manipulation.

More thinking to do. But there's something in this sense of purpose, this relationship to community that feels honest and authentic. And that must be present for any brand to survive in the transparent landscape we're entering.

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