Which sandbox: remembering to keep joy in your brand

sandboxPaul Hawken could have used his time at the Denver Sustainable Industries Economic Forum to talk about anything. And he covered a fairly wide variety of topics.

But what stood out was his reminder that “people want to play in the fun sandbox.” That sustainable solutions to business and our world should be joyful. Think of the innovation that’s going on in this space, he challenged us. The amazing technology. System-changing ideas. Massive shifts in the status quo. The wondrous problems about to be solved. The human spirit and joy behind it all.

If those interested in sustainable development focus on the doom-and-gloom, the catastrophic problems looming ahead, who will want to play with us?

An excellent thing to remember when managing a brand. Collaboration, partnerships, and action happen when it’s exciting to be a part of something. It’s something I learned a long time ago during college when I worked for an environmental group. People want to be a part of something that’s working, that they feel is making a difference, and is solving something as opposed to bringing attention to a problem.

Same in business and the brands and leadership tactics we use to mobilize people. And not just in the creative, messaging-driven myopia that we often associate with branding and leading. Think of the left side of the brain, too. What can be measured can be managed, obviously. But data and demonstrable results also demonstrate momentum. Momentum begets engagement. Engagement: collaboration, partnerships, change.

And if you don’t have the data right away to demonstrate forward movement, turn to the right brainers for help. If you don’t have data, you’ve got a story. Work on your story from the very beginning. And then when you do gather the data? Aw yeah.