Inspire Change or Instil Pride?


This week your tool is a question: Is your brand inspiring change or instilling pride? Every brand out there can do one or the other. (Very rarely do brands do both at the same time...)

At first you might call bullshit. I know I have, and my partner and colleagues have too, pointing out “Oh yeah? But what about that light bulb? Does THAT brand really inspire change or make people feel proud?!”

However, if you ask the right questions, and have the right brand behaviours to back it up, you’ll see that it can. Every single brand out there can. And possibly should.

I’m going to show you how. 

Regardless of category, every brand can either inspire new consumer behaviours, or instil pride in existing ones. In the first instance, the role of your brand is to provide new ideas, novel activities and push people out of their comfort zone. In the second instance, pride, the role of your brand is to confirm for people they’re on the right track, that they're doing things the right way already.

Some Examples...


Lurpak is a great example of what I’d call a ‘pride brand'. Its best communications are not trying to change the way people cook, but rather getting people to feel differently about the way they cook: to make people (and those around them) proud of how they've always done it.


Land o' Lakes, on the other hand, is a strong ‘inspiration brand'. As its Instagram says, Land o' Lakes is "Bringing inspiration to cooks and bakers who share our passion for good food." All its best communications inspire change, helping people cook, live and eat in new, more interesting ways.

Why it's important? Because simply ‘inspiring people’ is a generic and lazy form of strategy. Most good marketers move beyond ‘inspiring people’ to how they’re actually going to do it, but very few ever ask if inspiration is what customers need from a brand like theirs.

What if your brand doesn’t need to change people’s behaviour? What if you just need to make them proud, drawing attention to something they already do? Ultimately, people want to feel good about what they’re doing, no matter what that might be, relieving whatever pressures they feel.

Some determining questions:

  • Is there a genuine health/wellness/horizons-expanding benefit to your range of products?
  • Does your product have a strong role in a tradition or ritual?
  • Is it commonplace for people to innovate, invent, or ‘hack’ using your product?
  • Does your visual aesthetic or product design rely heavily on heritage cues?

If you answered yes to the even numbers, you’re mostly likely in the pride territory. If you answered yes to the odd numbers, you’re most likely in the inspiration territory.

How to communicate it...

Inspiring change means your communications should show your customers something different or unfamiliar but make it feel within reach.

Instilling pride means showing your customers something familiar, but help them see or feel something different about it.

Back to that light bulb: easy answer if the light bulb is something like the innovative, super eco-friendly Plumen. But what if it’s just a plain ol’ 60 watt incandescent light bulb? Is it what your mother used? Does it cast the kind of light you’re used to? Is the packaging a little retro? …you tell me.

Every. Single. Brand.

A few very special, powerful brands are able to do both at the same: inspiring change, quite often by instilling pride… or instilling pride by inspiring change… but I’ll save that for another day. 

That's it for today! Thanks for reading! I really hope it helps, and as this is new for me, please let me know what you think. Does it help? What would make it more helpful or enjoyable? Want to get more like this?

Last, a small request

What are the 2-3 most frustrating questions/issues/challenges you currently face with your company as a brand builder? I want to help and these questions will help me shape future newsletters.

Thanks, again! 

P.S. If there's anyone you think who'd appreciate this Inspiration/Pride question, please share this!