One of the main things spiritual work tends to be about is looking for an answer to the question: "How can I not have my current experience?" Maybe a new belief system? Maybe a new teacher? Maybe a new routine? I've been thinking a lot about where this desire to change the current experience comes from.
This isn't such a different situation for people or brands. Unless you work with a brand that is having the experience of its life (Yes, Red Bull, I'm talking to you), most brands come to you to answer the same question people seek in spiritual practice: "How can I not have my current experience?"
Most of your exhaustion comes from trying to change the brand's current experience — only to find out the next experience needs changing too, and the next, and the next. But this never works.
I once heard a teacher at a Buddhist question-and-answer session reply that all his practice had been beneficial because it exhausted him with trying to change his current experience. All the meditating in this pose or belief in that truth tired him out, which he needed in order to see something: If he had succeeded in changing his experience, the next experience would have just needed changing too… and the next, and the next.
The teacher concluded: "That's awfully exhausting."
So here we have a sideswipe of spiritual insight and media behavior — it's exhausting to keep asking how to change the current experience. So what's that about, wanting to change? Is it about profit? Audience? One look at Red Bull could have a brand thinking change may lead to either of those things. So those could be the answers.
What if it's about evolution, though? Could a brand asking how to change the current experience just lack a way of asking: "How can I become part of the evolution of culture?" I think we may be on to something when we think about creating change as fundamentally a question about how evolution works. Change is a product of evolution. To buy change isn't the same as being part of its evolution naturally.
The current situation is always an expression of evolution. If a brand isn't part of the evolutionary process, it seems hard to believe they would find themselves in a current experience that feels useful. This idea is an evolving theme itself here in this column that I'll keep exploring, which is how brands can be shown the value of participating in culture shift in order to be part of a natural process of evolution they can inherit.