Strategic branding

Rainer Rilke as Brand Poet

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • Rainer Maria Rilke and his Letters to a Young Poet provides some insights for becoming strong brands.
  • An on-fire belief that “I must” get this product our service out into the world is what provides the initial impetus.
  • From a core of "I must", a clear vision can be developed that helps begin “spreading out its roots” to create a unity of focus throughout the organization.
  • Maecenas pellentesque leo et hendrerit sodales.

Thanks to Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings for turning me onto Bohemian-Austrian Rainer Maria Rilke and his Letters to a Young Poet. In an age where the quickly darted off email is becoming the de facto communication standard, it is such a fresh breath of air to ponder unhurriedly over a prose so seemingly authentic, sincere and poised that it all becomes rather moving.

And so applicable to how we at Diligent Rocket think about building authentic and inspired brands. Here’s a quick excerpt from his letter to a young poet from Paris dated February 17, 1903.

“You ask whether your verses are good. You ask me. You have asked others before me. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are disturbed when certain editors reject your efforts. Now (since you have allowed me to advise you) I beg you to give up all that. You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do now. Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only a single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all -- ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.”

If we replace the poet in the above letter with a company owner or executive, so many of the same questions apply. For it’s only when there is that on-fire belief that “I must” get this product our service out into the world (it is that important and valuable), that a vision is able to begin “spreading out its roots” to create a unity of focus within the organization that allows it to transcend the traditional, aspire to the poetic and connect outwardly with a warmth, sincerity and authenticity that can't help but be rewarded.

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