I'm willing to bet that when you hear about a company, at the latest when it comes to employees, you'll hear "We focus on people". Without exception! In principle, there's nothing wrong with that, apart from the fact that everyone says it and it's therefore nothing special, it's a matter of course and therefore nothing special, and that the sentence is often well-intentioned but not actually true and therefore nothing special.
For brand management, however, it becomes fatal if the audience is not in focus. This starts - like everything in marketing - with product & services and leads via the communication story to the brand experience. Not knee-jerk "people in focus", but "radical orientation towards relevance for the audience" is therefore the order of the day. But all too easily said. For, anyone who embarks on this path will quickly realise how quickly one slips on the mirror-smooth surface of the overrun commonplace. Here I am human, because: What counts are the people. - Yes, what else?
Nothing interests people like people, preferably real people. That's why they like to show them in jungle/singing/dancing camps and in advertising campaigns as explicitly real. Just as they are, seemingly at peace with their hips, funny noses and strange hairstyles and yet always looking for themselves, or anything else. Real life, real people. Yet there is only one person on earth who really interests everyone. But who is that?
John Steinbeck put it perfectly: "If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And here I make a rule - a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last." Those who have understood this know that all professions of loyalty to the customer as king in today's world go much further than can be depicted in communication. It is about a fundamental change in the attitude of a company, that is, of the people who work there. It is about the magic word empathy and the unconditional (= without talking out of turn) attention to what is really relevant for the people. And here I make a rule: Relevant is rarely the product. Even if it all starts with it.
We humans are in search of values and their meaning in our lives. And we do so constantly, all mostly subconsciously and therefore all the more effectively. Because everything we think, do and decide happens emotionally and subconsciously. Our consciousness invents the appropriate justification for our behaviour in a flash, and so what we call character and personality is gradually formed.
"By their deeds you shall know them" is already written in the instruction manual for the Christian life. However, it is of vital importance for communicators to understand the drive behind these deeds. Unfortunately, the sentence from the manual for networked people, "By their data you shall know them", only seems to help. What really helps is the examination of people's values and desires. That is exactly where stories are created. Exactly there, the engine for a powerful, serious brand story is started. Exactly there, a storyworld develops: the shared world of values in which people and brands respectfully encounter each other. And it is precisely there that relevance and meaning emerge. Suddenly, superficial storytelling transforms into respectful, sustainably effective storysharing.