Why we use the Japanese Philosophy of Wa for organisational branding
Fundamental to MUSUBI is a Japanese philosophy — Wa, which means harmony. The search and creation of harmony affords us the ability to examine the business as a whole and allows us to interrogate the status quo and break the shackles of tradition. Wa, drives us to go deep and helps us to cradle a strong social message and champion forms of expression an inclusivity as well as a celebration of diversity.
We have always argued for making the brand, the organisation, and customer experience harmonious. It remains uncommon in practice because it is so hard to implement without a clearly defined brand or focus on people. It requires leaders to take a holistic view of the brand and the organisation that transcends the marketing function and makes the brand a rallying cry for the whole organisation. More importantly, it requires the organisation to harmoniously align its people, processes, positioning and work environments in order to deliver the promise it makes everyday.
In the past, the approach was to developed a new logo then impose onto a company and then expect the culture to magically change culture. You can’t change a toxic culture with 2D graphics. So whats the responsible answer?
Well, the corporate world is complex and it isn’t getting any simpler. The industrial revolution worked hard to create systems of control. Companies still think in scientific management terms and box people into little compartments, tasks, and perverse yearly performance reviews. It affects people in very disturbing ways. People amputate themselves from other people. They self censor based on their job title and don’t share deep knowledge up and down the organisation.
But the world is changing. Thankfully the power is shifting inch by inch into the hands of people. So how do we shape a complex organisation ready for a complex world? We coalesce human values with brand purpose through the entire levels of the organisation.
The central premise of Wa is understanding the needs and potential friction of the people who work together and their relationship to the brand. It takes the long term view. A view that a business is part of something bigger.
The opposite of Wa is a disconnected approach that results in a patchwork of initiatives and projects that fail to interconnect with each other or speak to the whole.
By harnessing harmony — Wa, we are able to establish a stable platform to create an organisational brand and culture that is adaptive and robustness. This ensures that Brands will wear in, not wear out!
The future challenge and opportunity will be to have an organisation that has a sophisticated culture galvanised around a sophisticated brand.
Can you see how we could harmonise your organisation?
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Musubi is a strategic brand agency and through a lens of Japanese design principles we create and design brands, workplace culture, workspaces and social environments.
We challenge established thinking and drive business and culture transformation. Seen through the lens of the inclusiveness, we identify, create, and implement a true point of differentiation.
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