Filtering Coffee to Reduce Acidity Levels or Diving into Business and Branding

Branding, Business & Coffee

What follows is a bit long, to say the least. I hope it won’t be deadly boring. It is a current, peer-to-peer reflection on what is around us and how that affects our thoughts, decisions and actions in business and with our brands. I hope you find it useful, and moreover, I really wish you’ll call us when you’ve finished because you’ve found the right partner for your new adventures.

Questioning Rather than Asserting or Uncovering the Flavour of Ignorance

When we meet our clients, we avoid sounding like ” Miss Full of Air” and, instead of stating things we generally don’t know, we ask about their needs and seek answers in terms of solutions. Questioning turns out to be a good, healthy, recommendable and above all honest exercise. How do you find it?

  • How to transform your business and grow through your brand, culture and experience?
  • What’s your business purpose?
  • Who are your stakeholders?
  • Where should the competition take place?
  • How will the game be won?
  • And as if we were kids: Why this? Why the other?

In recent times, this attitude seems to be exceptionally rare, and some people even find it strange. There are many people who “are clear”, and few who doubt. Particularly, this situation leads me to think -and obviously wonder- that, perhaps, we are reaching a level of utter ignorance. Maybe it is a good formula to be happy. Is it?

The most audacious, those who yesterday were crypto-experts and today are doctors in global geopolitical strategy, share on [anti]social networks, things that others have written under the pretext of being ideas that they share. I’ve discovered that:

  • They stuck to the level of the title and didn’t go down to depth, so they just throw in their opinion on everything without knowing anything.
  • It is a narcissistic act in which deep down they tell us “This guy thinks like me” and do not question what that other guy thinks, let alone what they think -if they even do it at all.
  • They possess an ideological bias that doesn’t allow them to see realities that contradict their mental structure; these are the most dangerous, the most present, the most harmful

I enjoy reading the content created by David Aaker, Erich Joachimsthaler, Steven Picanza, Matt Davies or Ian e Wood among others, not because they are right in what they say -sometimes I think they are, occasionally I disagree- but because they make me reflect, reconsider and challenge what I thought before I sat down and read them. It is a fantastic act of acknowledging both what I know as well as my own limitations.

At some point I wonder if critical thinking has not become a declining asset that we could/should revitalise. Remember, we’re talking about “critical thinking”, not about freely and unabashedly “criticising the thinking” of others, and even more pertinently, most of the questions are the ones you ask yourself, to challenge your own ideas, which often turn out to be preconceived due to cultural biases -which we all own.

As a company and as a brand this means losing the fear of asking yourself every day what challenges, both big and small, are faced and assuming that the answer will be neither simple, nor straightforward, nor what your neighbour is doing, but rather a meaningful idea that will move you in the right direction, even if you can’t see the end of the journey.

Getting Serious About Cooperation or Using Micro-deception Filters

It looks like questioning, analysing, and deciding are often associated with moments of isolation -the “I must sleep on it” effect. In some cases, this is true, but in many others, it requires the support of more people, who join forces and decide to cooperate as a first step.

To cooperate is not to collectivise decisions -absolutely not! Cooperating should be a construct of many and not the result of individual abdication of certain beliefs just because the herd says so -this situation often occurs due to the worst of today’s ailments, procrastination and comfortable mental laxity. That statement that “if everyone thinks so, it’s because they must be right” reminds me of a story associated with the exquisite tastes of flies -no further comment is needed on this issue.

There is one side effect that we could see as being less important, although it’s not. It’s the dilution of responsibilities due to the collectivisation of events. In a world that is once again going through one of its high radicalisation cycles, this is a lever of alienation; they are the guilty ones; we are the owners of truth, goodness and justice; we must ban messages of hate, we are the right-thinkers… Behind the us and them, the hand that throws the stone is hidden.

As a company and as a brand this means that each person -subject level- takes responsibility for the things that happen -object level-. Anything else can end up boomeranging.

At the end of the day, no matter how much we are told, we want good products, good services, unique and singular experiences. The rest can remain messianic messages of an accommodating and short-term activism -with obvious clear exceptions that could be counted on a hand’s breadth.

Building Stories or the Tasting of Real Coffee

Storytelling seems to be the coolest thing at the moment. It is something that has become widespread and that we accept even if, in certain cases -many I would say-, these stories are a vile means to manipulate our behaviour.

Telling and listening to stories is as human as our ability to laugh. This is a fact.

However, when what surrounds us and our own lives become the sum of stories made to our liking, the purpose of which is that, convinced of a reality that is not such, we end up behaving according to patterns expected by others and which, in the end, we do not know how we got there. At its limit, this is nothing more than a pleasant model of slavery. If we look at it seriously -and without exacerbating our own paranoia- it could become a key affair of individual freedoms.

Stories must be built, without losing their appeal, making us think, facilitating -critical- learning, uniting us where we need to be, respecting the individual when the situation demands it.

As a company and a brand this means that it is more important the story building than the story telling -as my friend Philipe Mihailovich would say-.

That structure is born out of present and aspirational realities that sincerely shape the company and are synthesised in what the brand tells.

*Author’s note: How much of what is happening in the world today is the responsibility of unethical marketing and branding applied to other practices -e.g.: politics?

Avoiding Radicalization or Sugarcoating is Forbidden

We’ve started from questioning before affirming, from developing our critical thinking; from recognising the creative tension between cooperation and individualism; from building stories on an ethical basis and as an act of sincerity.

If we place what we mentioned above in our current context we’ll see that this is not an uncompromising fanatical mandate, on the contrary it speaks of our responsibility and respect for who we are: unique and free people, for the better or for the worse.

I’m not naïve, I know this is not the same for everyone. Depending on where you are in any kind of hierarchical structure, the free exchange of ideas will be curtailed -sorry, but it is an observation of reality. However, our ability as a society to be wiser than dumber, and thus avoiding these kinds of suspiciously common atrocities, would be commendable and expected.

As a company and a brand, this means seeking to maximise the individual development of the person, harmonising it with their development at different levels of the community and even society in general.

The theme is so deep and foundational that it should be considered as one of those permanent objectives of the company, beyond the creation of value, generation of results and the search for a positive social and/or environmental impact.

Being True, First and Foremost, to Ourselves, or Let’s Continue with a Decaf Life

It may be that at this point you assume quite correctly that this reflection could constitute a utopia -I’m too polite to call it wishful thinking- and I guess you’re right.

Since our very genesis, as people we have evolved on the basis of utopian dreams that moved us towards a desired reality that was better than the one we were living in at the time.

Today, I believe that we are in a moment of change and transformation in which we confuse technological progress with automated thinking, the welfare state with regulations, respect for minorities with the imposition of new practices. At some point we lost our bearings and we see reality as a utopia in itself, and that paralyses us because in the end we don’t know where to go.

I wouldn’t worry, because if we read a bit of history, we will discover that this has already happened, and that after the darkness -which wasn’t such a thing either- the sun rose.

There was a medieval and there will be a renaissance.

As a business and brand this ultimately means that before defining all those things that are so in vogue, you should ask yourself, without technicalities, what you are for, what you expect, what you aspire to, and how these fit in with what your audiences want from you.

Then the strategic concepts of business and brand will flow smoothly and in alignment. I say this in “devil” mode, more as an old man than as a wise one.

Don’t you think it’s time to contact Allegro 234 and do something real, valuable and effective with your business and your brand? We obviously think so!

Image by Arshad Sutar, Pexels

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<a href="" target="_self">Cristian Saracco</a>

Cristian Saracco

About the author

Founding Partner | Allegro234 Founding Member | The Flow Collective Full Member | Medinge Group Member Editorial Committee | Branders Magazine

May 15, 2024

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