Brand Matters: Do You Moodle?
If you're looking for a great read that is a change of pace from the typical business book, let me recommend "Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul" by Dr. Stuart Brown. I guarantee you Brown will change your mind about play. It will become something you do first, not put off until all your work is done. I'm more convinced than ever of the importance of play and the necessity of stepping back, taking time-outs, and the need for creating reflective time, and space in our highly reactive and ever-changing culture.
What's Your Brand's
There are indeed companies that operate their organizations in a play state. They take an intentional approach to creating a fun working environment for both employees and customers. Companies like Southwest, Ben & Jerry's, Jim Beam, Chipotle and LEGO know that serious play leads to happy, productive workers and brands customers enjoy doing business with. They embrace Dale Carnegie's belief that, "People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing."
I have come to believe that all brands need more play time. Philosopher Martin Buber reminds us that, "Play is the exultation of the possible." I find myself often giving my clients permission slips to "play in their brands" in various forms. I am their gentle nudger, their brand whisperer, their creative provocateur, their imaginative "possibilitizer."
Have you ever moodled? Moodling is another form of play. I learned this term from Brenda Ueland, an author and creativity encourager. She writes, "So you see, imagination needs moodling—long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering." Moodling involves you and your brand team pondering questions like:
- What is our brand's play state?
- Are we play-deprived?
- What are we working on that's fun and we feel passionate about?
- How might we make our brand experience more enjoyable for our customers?
Time to Moodle
Like pausing and playing, moodling often gets pushed out of our schedules. But it is in the moodles that things can occur to us. Things like changes to our present structures (either people or processes), product or system enhancements, or even ways to improve our customer experiences based on things we observe outside our categories. Taking time to write, record and process the nuanced field notes from our observations is an important step to clarifying what action to take.
Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of creative branding and merchandising consultancy IER Partners. For 20+ years, Andrea’s joy has been inspiring clients with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She’s the author of two books about brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants and ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators. You may reach her at email@example.com.