7 FLOW advantages you can tap into for your business to build an irresistible brand.

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Still recall the Gangnam style effect?

Gangnam style didn’t go viral organically. Their success is not an overnight accident.

It was a well-planned and executed campaign by YG Entertainment.

The company itself had a huge social presence of around 2.5 million subscribers, which they leveraged during the campaign.

And their engaged audience base was a result of the company having invested consistently to build a strong social presence.

Then we have the Ice Bucket Challenge.

That was an integrated approach that leverage on social media, celebrity influence and a good cause to create a pay-it-forward momentum.

And not to mention we are in a Pokemon craze lately!

What’s interesting is that they do not hinge on a big marketing blitz, but through the power of word of mouth, built upon an iconic brand and nostalgia.

It seems like these successful brands, events, campaigns and works are lucky enough to become viral, but underlying them are some key principles of flow.

Flow vs Strive

When a business harnesses the power of flow in their decision-making, marketing, brand building and business development, 20% of the efforts produced 80% of the results.

On the other hand, for those who uses a “striving” approach, they often meet with resistance, even though they seem to be doing the right things.

What then is the difference between “flow” and “strive” when comes to growing a business?

Here are some characteristics of the contrasts (non-exhaustive)…

Strive

  • Fundamental Mindset: I need to market the message.
  • Approach: Try too hard to be impressive
  • Lead by: Being noisy trying to grab massive attention
  • Focus: On large concerted efforts to pull it off
  • Beliefs: We can’t lose, we got to win!
  • Results: Feeling drained or burnout for having done and invested so much, but with little rewards or benefits showing up
  • Relationship: Resents competition and doubtful of partnerships
  • Attitude: Hoard things from others
  • Risk: Thinks small and avoid risk
  • Play at the level: Functionality, often can be seen as replaceable and easily be worn out by functionality
  • Approach to Change: Fears change and trying hard to defend its status quo
  • Sell on: What they do - price, time, technology or mechanism. Example: I am a social media marketer, I offer social media marketing services for small businesses using xyz proprietary system to get more exposure for the company. I usually charge $xxxx for my work for this amount of time...

Flow

  • Fundamental Mindset: I am the message!
  • Approach: Less is more
  • Lead by: Resonance and influence
  • Focus: On one-two areas exceptionally well in communicating their distinct value
  • Beliefs: We have every reason to win and nothing to lose
  • Results: Earned trust and respect of community. Gained flow of referrals and business while loving and enjoying the process
  • Relationship: Welcome competition and seeks purposeful collaboration
  • Attitude: Generously sharing and connecting knowledge & resources with others
  • Risk: Thinks big and embrace risk
  • Play at the level: Vitality, being highly sought after for redefining the game
  • Approach to Change: Open to avenues for growth and take ownership of change
  • Sell on: Who they are - tiers of value creation, points of differentiation and positioning. Example: I help medium enterprise wellness service businesses deliver clear cut communication hacks without spending any marketing dollars which they can apply to their business to grow their profits by 15% in 15 mins a day. Not only that, it increases referrals for their business by 30%.

By tapping into the zone of flow, you are simply playing at what you are already great at and who you already are without resisting it.

When in the flow, you don't have to try. You have very little to prove and everything to BE.

Whereas those who are striving for something, they tend to be faking it in order to make it.

Tapping into the state of flow is just like water, you are riding on the waves.

Whereas striving for something is like trying to squeeze the toothpaste that is almost running out!

play at your best flow state

How can you tap into the power of flow more often in your business or for your brand?

There is already a natural tendency in each of us that are captivating, appealing and resonating, which we FLOW best in.

Sally Hogshead, the founder of How to Fascinate system and a world-class branding expert, called this the state of fascination.

“When in a state of fascination we will pay as much as 1,000 times more for some item because we are in the grip of captivation. We are powerless to resist,” she says.

And there are seven key triggers which we fascinate and communicate our highest and distinct value:

Innovation

It is the flow state of creativity.

Innovation brands spark with new possibilities and do the opposite of what is expected. 

They change the game just like Pokemon Go, that brought gaming to a whole new experience, from virtual reality to augmented reality.

How can you apply this?

  • Identify the current practices and norms of your industry.
  • What are the areas where people wished it could be different or better?
  • Then explore ways which you could go the opposite direction in order to deliver those expectations at a whole new level.

Passion

​It is the flow state of building relationships.

Brands that harness the flow of passion stirs our emotions and appeal to our five senses.

They are often expressive and warm.

They are great at building social connections.

​How can you apply this?

  • Look at ways which your service or offerings can bring about delightful experiences for customers to come closer and interact with one another in a communal setting.
  • What is a shared value, vision or change that your people yearn to own or been wanting to belong to?
  • How can you facilitate those conversations, online and offline, with sensitivity, understanding and love?

Power

It is the flow state of confidence and leadership.

Power brands are decisive, goal-oriented and highly respected for their opinions.

They lead their people by an influential presence and authority in making a stand.

​How can you apply this?

  • ​What does your business or brand stand for, even if it is controversial?
  • Start listing down those values and craft statements of opinions around them.
  • Then look at aligning your goals by communicating those values in every touch points possible.
  • Understand that this is not about playing it safe because your opinions matter, even if there will be people who will object to them.
  • Start building strategic alliances with other authorities who also support and resonates with your opinions. This helps to position your brand strongly and conveys credibility.

Prestige

It is the flow state of excellence.

Prestige brands focus on raising the bar higher each time. They do not settle for the less!

They captivate people by their perceived value, even if it means being the most expensive choice and having to go all out to get it.

How can you apply this?

  • ​Create an exclusive membership or a mastermind group where only those who fulfills a certain standard are qualified to be let in.
  • Limit the availability or edition of your services or products.
  • Be congruent with the fact that what you have to offer comes with a high price, backed by strong values and killer bonuses!
  • Start working your way to associate your brand with relevant influencers or thought leaders in creating authentic endorsements.

Trust

It is the flow state of consistency and stability.

Trust brands build upon what is familiar and nostalgic.

They are often recognised by the legacy that they bring forth. Hence, they are dependable brands.

How can you apply this?

  • To build consistency, repeat your message and retell your story, be it through social media, your marketing collaterals or emails.
  • Demonstrate to your clients how this consistency has stood the test of time over the years, especially in tough times and faced with volatile changes in the market.
  • For brands that are new, focus on the core benefits you promise to deliver and fulfill.

Mystique

It is the flow state of listening that inspires curiosity.

Mystique brands focus on the “less that is more.”

These brands know when to talk, and when to be quiet.

They provoke questions and inspire curiosity.

They place emphasis on substance before style.

How can you apply this?

  • Be intentional, deliberate and succinct in your communication. Remember, less is more.
  • Use metaphors and storytelling to convey your message, allowing your audience to fill in the blanks and define the meaning for themselves. Subtleties rule!
  • Open up conversations with purposeful questions and listen to their responses before giving answers.

Alert

It is the flow state of details that inspires action.

With its mastery of precision, Alert drives urgency and clarity as there will be consequences for not taking action.

For Alert brands, the “angel is in the details!”

How can you apply this?

  • Remind your audience of the consequence and impact for not taking action, tying it back to the “not-so-exciting” or dreadful scenario of their status quo.
  • Make it easy for people to take the next steps with clear instructions.
  • Having a countdown and deadline towards something helps inspire a sense of urgency.
  • Present a methodological framework on how you deliver the results, which you can walk your clients through.

To begin understanding what your brand’s flow state is, you can take the online assessment here...

After identifying your primary flow advantage, you can consider applying some of the above-mentioned to support your brand's core advantage. You can also tap into other advantages as tactics to boost your marketing and brand communication.

While doing so, remember not to overdo it and dilute your brand’s core message.

Because transformation happens in the flow, not in the strive!

What is your brand’s advantage? And what is your biggest challenge when comes to growing your brand?

Please share your comments below.

I love to hear your story.

About the Author

Alfred Chung helps entrepreneurs and professionals develop a robust human brand ecosystem, future-fitting their growth in this disruptive digital economy. While many brand strategist and marketers emphasize on tactics, outer techniques and strategies, Alfred goes beyond the surface and help his clients leverage on their hidden value and unfair advantages, making it work as their secret weapons at their best. In another word, to constantly expand oneself as highly robust humans to thrive in complexity.

  • Nobody can stop you except yourself. Can you learn how to channel all the anger you expense towards those “blocking your success” to perfecting your act? You will only go as as far as you choose to go. Blaming others is easier, believing that you have what it takes and that nobody can stop you is harder. That is why many choose to blame and vilify others. It is not what is done to that matters, it is how you respond that will make or break you. Do not let yourself be broken, stand talk, stand firm and be the winner God created you to be.

  • Alfred Chung

    Hi Eric,

    Well said! Thank you for sharing your wisdom on this. You are right, only we ourselves know what is true for us to stand for.

  • Syris

    Loved this article!!! Great insights. Thanks!!.
    One thing that tripped me up and gave me a giggle though, was reading how those in the ‘Flow’ column react to change vs. those in the ‘Strive’ column… “**Strives** for growth and take ownership of change.” Maybe should be ,”Flows with growth…” 😉

    • Alfred Chung

      Hi Syris,

      Thanks for pointing that out! I giggled too at that one point. I’ve updated the list.