“To be inspired, is to be in a state of mind where everything is possible and where you see new opportunities to put those thoughts into action.”
One Million Pages of Inspiration is a celebration of our creative imagination. It is all about that special spark which sets things in motion and changes behaviour for the better. In today’s society Inspiration therefore is all about social engagement and ‘the art of moving people’ with the purpose of releasing new energy to change our world for the better.
To highlight the power of inspiration this blog will therefore address three types of inspiration;
With technological inspiration this blog will concentrate on new technological opportunities which help us to connect with each other in totally new ways. Hereby you can think of inspirational applications of augmented reality, gamification tactics and upcoming mobile opportunities.
With social inspiration One Million Pages of Inspiration is looking for new strategies, concepts and ideas that inspirational brands use in order to meet social needs that help to strengthen society at large.
Basically this means that social inspiration is about how we create new social relationships and how companies enhance the society’s capacity to act. Therefore Social is about social needs, not consumer needs and social outcomes, not consumer products. (Based on Josephine Green’s social innovation; Re-thinking the future).
To understand the impact of these social inspiration opportunities One Million Pages of inspiration has developed a Social Inspiration Matrix. This matrix can be seen as a new tool to check your campaign’s social engagement.
The Social Inspiration Matrix requirements;
“Interactive computer networks are growing exponentially, creating new forms and channels of communication, shaping life and being shaped by life at the same time. A development which is characterized by widespread destructuring of organizations and deligitimation of institutions. This enhances a renewed search for identity, either collective or individual, which is structuring societies around a bipolar opposition between the Net and the self.” – Network Society, Castells
“Derived from the industrial revolution many products are still designed for rational purposes, to meet physical needs, to increase comfort, or to save time. A recent trend is the design of products which meet spiritual and emotional goals, putting an emphasis on the products’ ability to tell a story and to appeal to the imagination.” – Dream Society, Jensen
These quotes illustrate that our society is on a social tipping point, where our personal world is a reflection of the social relationships we encounter. This implies that the new role of marketing is to stimulate the collaborative construction of new realities (Gergen).
In order to do so it is necessary for brands to know who they are and what value they continuously want to co-create with their stakeholders. Only this way brands are able to create a sense of belonging and built meaningful relationships with those who feel attracted to their purpose.
To establish purposeful and meaningful relationships between brands and their stakeholders authenticity comes into play. To frame authenticity Pine and Gilmore use the scene from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in which Polonius counsels his son Laertes;
“This above all; to thine own self be true.
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Pine and Gilmore then derive two standards of authenticity from this scene, namely;
These two principles of thought and action stress the importance of one’s perception of one’s self and one’s behaviour towards others. In order to be perceived as authentic brands therefore have to contend with both simultaneously in order to match its offerings with the expectations of its stakeholders. The challenge hereby lies in the translation of its purpose into its brand behaviour, which is manifested in its touchpoints (Mark Churchman – Senior global creative director Philips).
The next anecdote by Carl Weick helps to illustrate the criteria of orientation and animation;
The young lieutenant of a Hungarian detachment in the Alps sent a reconnaissance unit into the icy wilderness. It began to snow immediately, and unexpectedly continued to snow for two days. The unit did not return. The lieutenant feared that he had dispatched his own people to death. However on the third day the unit came back. Where had they been? How had they made their way? “Yes,” he said: “We considered ourselves lost and waited for the end. We did not have any maps, compasses or other equipment with which to ascertain our position or a probable route out. But then one of us found an old tattered map in a seldom used pocket. That calmed us down. The map did not seem to quite fit the terrain but eventually we discovered our bearings. We followed the map down the mountain and after a few wrong turns eventually found our way.” The lieutenant borrowed the map and had a good look at it. “This is not a map of the Alps,” he said. “It is a map of the Pyrenees.” – Karl Weick
The map in the anecdote represents what an inspirational brand can do for an individual or a group of people. The value of an inspirational campaign therefore lies in its ability to represent the environment as a whole as well as its ability to focus minds in order to guide thoughts and actions.
On the criteria of orientation this means that an inspirational brand represents a focus of action, hereby providing answers on what to do and what not to do. Especially in today’s society where we are confronted with a growing barrage of demands on our attention, inspirational brands help us to select and prioritize what should receive our attention. Over time this focus generates a feeling of stability and consistency, which helps to build trustworthy relationships.
On the criteria of animation this means that an inspirational brand should stimulate participation, hereby mobilizing both internal and external networks to work together within an atmosphere where dialogue is key. By inviting people to take action, inspirational brands encourage people and offer them tangible support in leading the lives they choose.
The criteria of simple focuses on the ability to easily understand why and how people can implement inspirational brands into their lives. Storytelling hereby helps to turn abstract thoughts into concrete actions and generate context-based solutions. Through highlighting these specific events identification becomes easy and people are able to choose their level of involvement.
On a corporate level this means that companies have to re-invent themselves as inspirational brands, which use their identity as a leading principle that thrives the customer and social experience. Using this strategy companies are able to escape the red ocean of bloody competition and find new ways to position themselves in the minds of people.
Obviously leadership is an inspiring management item which gains lots of attention. Within this blog those leaders are addressed who take their responsibility to be in the world and as such contribute to the well-being of people and communities. These leaders promote personal development and bring along a spiritual understanding of identity, mission, vision and environment.
I have created the Social Inspiration Matrix to showcase the future of social marketing. I hope it inspires you to come up with new ideas which help to co-create a more beutiful tomorrow. I therefore love to see your comments in order to specify the Social Inspiration Matrix even more!