Brand Optimism Part 2: Choosing Optimism

March 20, 2024

A dose of optimism recharges our batteries. It keeps life’s engine ticking over. Because we’re narrative creatures we find rewarding meaning in the promise that the next chapter will improve on the last.

A positive outlook is also contagious. It’s the shared hope that our collective efforts have the power to see us through. Negativity keeps us apart. Positivity unites us.

The post-pandemic revival of face-to-face socialising, culture and work is still fresh in our memories. The world is so much brighter when we we’re physically in it together.

Optimism is fuel for brands too. And it starts with an optimistic positioning idea.

Positioning is most meaningful when it’s expressed as a driving belief. Cadbury Dairy Milk believes that small everyday acts of kindness can make big differences. Lego believes that creative play can help kids fulfil their potential.

Of course a belief can be self-serving rather than world-changing. Levi’s believes that people wear jeans, but live in Levi’s. Coke believes that drinking sugar together is like everyday magic. The point is to unite the brand and its audience under one galvanising belief.

Beliefs are most optimistic when they’re open-ended and idealistic. They’re not certainties. This is what makes beliefs different from values. Value like progress or loyalty are concrete facts. They already exist out there. And values are hard to dislike. Who doesn’t want courage or generosity?

Beliefs on the other hand are things we hope will come true – the future we’d like to create. This creates expectations for better.

And beliefs have an edge. Different groups have different beliefs. They can be divisive, and this makes them interesting. A driving belief makes a much higher-octane fuel for brands, and the people they want to engage.

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