The true, the good, and the beautiful. Where consumer-driven markets are taking us


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The human experience

Great philosophers Plato, Kant and modern thinkers Wilber and Habermas, each with their own profound insights, point us to three recurring domains in human experience: what is true, what is good, what is beautiful. Human inquiry, human endeavor, daily living–all are present within these realms.

If our post-modern arc is ultimately positive (as I believe it is) then post-modern consumer-driven markets will (as I’ll argue here) increasingly evolve toward the true, the good, and the beautiful. In turn, this provides a frame for understanding & serving.

What is true

This is the realm of objective truth. What is measurable and functionally present. This is the realm of the value equation: what you get/what you pay. Here we solve for the functional needs of the consumer in the most effective and cost efficient way. Think Costco, Hyundai, Target. Marketers that succeed here have built business models that deliver quality at high value prices. Delivering more/better for a good price doesn’t make for the most exciting of strategies, but value leaders are often market leaders.

Authenticity operates here as well. Being truthful, open and transparent. Companies that consistently live-out and deliver on their vision and mission are true. From the consumer standpoint this constancy and consistency produces confidence and trust.

What is good

This is the realm of higher purpose. There is mounting evidence that working for something beyond ourselves creates positive psychological resonance. It moves us. And while corporate social responsibility efforts (CSR) are at times politically charged, and research shows that consumers are driven first by personal benefit (the true and the beautiful) you don’t have to look far to see how progressive, socially conscious companies are often the category leaders. Think J&J, Campbell’s Soup, Toyota, USAA. Each true to their vision. Each driven by higher purpose.

What is beautiful

And finally the realm of the subjective. This is the realm of art, aesthetics and personal experience. It is about design. Think of the great designs of BMW, Nike, Herman Miller, Starbucks, Apple. When we’re moved, we buy. It’s exciting to think about the increasing prominence design has on the quality of our lives and the great products of our day. And this isn’t limited to product or retailing. Any place where the brand is experienced is an opportunity for great design. Quoting the graphic designer, Milton Glaser, “There are three responses to a piece of design—yes, no and Wow. Wow is the one to aim for.”

Noodles & Company. Integrating the true, the good, and the beautiful

Here’s a company on the rise. Strikes me they are performing well in each our realms. Walk into of their store, and you enter into a light, warm, casual and welcoming environ. The aesthetic is great. A beautiful and comfortable Third Place. Fresh and delicious food is carefully displayed and delivered with friendly ease to your table. For Fast-Casual, menu items are refreshingly original and affordably priced. On the “good” front, Noodles was awarded America’s Healthiest Fast-Food Restaurant, by Health Magazine in 2008 and 2009. And while the company doesn’t boast any major CSR effort, they do feature community prominently on their site and invite people to solicit them directly for fundraising, donations, and sponsorships.

Being Human. Understand & Serve

With all the dizzying ways we can articulate strategy, to our way of thinking here at U&S, understanding the human need for the true, the good, and the beautiful simplifies a better way forward. Brands that deliver on this triune are some of the most successful of our day. They are serving our practical needs and our deeper desires.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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