It’s how inventions come to be. It’s how we managed to eventually make fire, slowly and surely built the pyramids and came to know the planets. It drove Marco Polo to China, Neil Armstrong to the moon and, in the same breath, pushed brands like Apple, Facebook and Amazon to take pilgrimages to new brand frontiers.
What’s “it,” you ask? Curiosity—one of our ancient, ingrained desires. It’s our drive to know more—to push the boundaries—and it’s a fertile starting point for brands in need of a boost. So are its three well-intentioned cousins: honor, independence and idealism. Honor is that innate desire to be called up—the glory of service and sacrifice—and you see it working hard for institutions like the military and the church.
If honor is following someone else’s rules, independence flies in the face of it, compelling us to follow our own. You can argue that the two dovetail into idealism, the current darling of the branding world. It’s our want to improve society, and our absolute fear of corruption. Ever wonder why Patagonia is persistently name-dropped as a runaway success? The magic is in the passionate devotion. When we purchase Patagonia, we believe we’re contributing to something bigger; of greater importance. And refreshingly, with them, you actually are. (Evidence of the ever-important brand purpose.)
These four desires are rooted in the best parts of us—our good intentions to improve ourselves and our surroundings. They’re the stuff of progress, and the stuff of progressive brands.