Breakthrough Brands Respect the Law of Mutual Gain.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a brand more human. It’s becoming clear to me: the new economy will flourish based on our interrelatedness, not by what separates us. When, with a spirit of mutual gain, two entities unite for shared benefit, both parties prosper.

Brands that operate based on mutual gain think, “I can only benefit if you benefit first.” Many new-economy success stories are built this way—eBay, BandCamp, Etsy, and the like.

Etsy often uses its Twitter feed to highlight the work of its sellers. 

Helping others fulfill their mission galvanizes the emotional bond between you.

Power up mutuality and you’ll drive tangible and intangible benefits throughout the community in the following ways:

    – Lift people up and the community will become more resilient.

      – Engage people’s imaginations and they’ll solve shared problems.

        – Connect them to each other and you’ll encourage networks of human support, vital for surviving difficult times.


        Last week, I got a call from a client telling me they had just won their first piece of business based on the new strategy we developed for them. They were giddy. We were hauling soggy boxes out of our store room after a flash flood that hit Illinois. Amidst the muck and the sludge, I pulled up a dry crate, sat down, and listened to the details of how their deal went down. Customers want to feel they are part of a cycle of reciprocity—giving, getting, and growing together. And so should we.