The world is changing right under our digital footprints. What comes next will be a function of the impact we make, as we navigate through this weird wonderland of changing media.

So who will your guides be?

There are more than 7 billion people on earth, and you can’t pay attention to all of them. What draws you to one person over another?? A common interest? A great sense of humor? High intelligence? Street smarts? Do you like people who help you grow and develop as a person? Or make you feel like you’re perfectly okay the way you are?

Crushing on brands is like crushing on people

We surround ourselves with a carefully chosen group of people who reflect who we are. It starts with kind of a crush, and if the person turns out to be as amazing as they seemed at first, we promote them from new friend to true friend.

It’s the same with brands. Millions of brand voices call out to us all the time, but we connect with only a rare few. The ones that get our attention are like the people we open up to. At first, they make us feel like we’re in on something special. Over time, they either prove to be as cool as we thought they were, or we move on.

How brands go from new friend to true friend

Let’s take Apple, for example. Arguably one of the strongest brands on earth, Apple didn’t build itself by trying to win everyone’s heart. Just the hearts of those who “think different.” Like an inspiring teacher or a supportive friend with high expectations, Apple seemed to understand a person’s need to be an individual, to express their creative side, and to live a simple, aesthetically rewarding life, within the complexity of what was a growing tidal wave of frustrating, grey-looking technology.

How would the digital landscape look if Steve Jobs hadn’t been a part of it?  It would still be here, connecting us all. But how different would our devices look? How differently would it all be connected?   Jobs’ insistence on simplicity and beauty shaped our expectations of digital life.

Apple’s brave, distinctive voice came out of a company on the brink of failure, and remained consistent through its transformation into the richest company on earth.

Uncensor your brand.

Who is your brand at heart?

Who does your brand matter to?

You can’t bore those people into bringing your brand into their inner circles.

So, how brave are you willing to be about letting it connect with those people, and create relationships that they truly value?