Self-awareness: The difference between marketing and magnetising


When people ask me what we do, I tell them that we help companies engage people (why we do it is a whole other blog post). Most assume that engagement means some form of marketing, which is part of it, but a more fitting word for the way we approach what we do is magnetising. Traditionally, marketing is an outside-in initiative, while magnetising focusses on inside-out.

When it comes to branding and communications, we’d rather help you build a fulfilling truth than help you invent an alluring mask. Or to put it another way – the disco pants may grab attention and get you into the party, but that’s where their value ends (Trust me, you’ll soon be wondering why you didn’t think it through). I’ve seen this short-term mindset and transactional approach lead many businesses astray.


We’d rather help you build a fulfilling truth than help you invent an alluring mask.


To build deep engagement, your marketing needs to be rooted to a brand with an authentic purpose, and it needs to be relevant, real and respectful. Branding to me starts from a deep level of self-awareness, uncovering the purpose or spirit behind a business. When this purpose is shared within the company – strategy stems from it, marketing is led by it, and everyone knows exactly how they contribute to it every day – that’s when the magic happens. Magnetising goes beyond making sales – it’s also about standing for something, building advocacy, enabling autonomy, unleashing innovation and retaining talent.

If you want to build a meaningful, spirited brand that owns its space, and a company that truly acts in alignment to its values, focus on intrinsic motivation in your business and brand strategy. What drives you at a core human level? What about your ideal customers? How can you create empathic alignment to bring out the best in each other?

If your strategy is to focus only on extrinsic motivators, like profit and image, then just make sure you have the funds to continue to buy people’s loyalty indefinitely.

By understanding our intentions, actions, thoughts and feelings, we are able to better understand the intentions, actions, thoughts and feelings of the people who our companies rely on to succeed. We become more understanding, open, positive and humble. When we act without that clarity first, we are only reacting to external factors and ignorant to the long-term consequences, which can be destructive for a business and its brand. When we are self-aware, we can be proactive and intentional in what we’re creating. We’re then able to respond rather than just react to the ever-changing climate. These are the key concepts of Conscious Branding.

Self-awareness is a core attribute of likeability and growth for leaders, and it’s the same for brands. In his book, ‘The Likeability Factor,’ author Tim Sanders lists 4 key qualities that contribute to likeability:

  1. Friendliness: your ability to communicate liking and openness to others
  2. Relevance: your capacity to connect with others’ interests, wants, and needs
  3. Empathy: your ability to recognise, acknowledge, and experience other people’s feelings
  4. Realness: the integrity that stands behind your likeability and guarantees its authenticity

These are qualities that every company needs to strive for, particularly in the human age of business. It takes guts to show up authentically and intentionally, at every experience and touch point, internally and externally. It’s hard to foster trust, autonomy and cooperation within a team. But through purpose, conscious leadership, engagement, consideration and collaboration, it’s possible. You can draw people towards you willingly by speaking your truth and understanding theirs. Focus on the soul of your business, work towards something meaningful together, and you’ll shine from the inside all the way to the outside – no overplaying, manipulation or fake smiles required. That’s magnetising.

Here are some of the ways you can foster awareness inside your business:

Listening vs Talking

Value listening – make it a habit to really listen to your customers and employees, rather than focusing on what you have to say. Practice your active listening skills daily.

Asking vs. Assuming

Never assume you know what someone is thinking. Ask customers and employees how they feel in situations, rather than make assumptions based on your own feelings.

Others vs Self

Think about how your actions as a company affect all of your stakeholders, rather than being unconscious to or ignoring the effects.

Responsibility vs Blame

Admit when you are in the wrong, be honest and apologise to customers and employees, rather than post-rationalising your behaviour or blaming others.

Observing vs. Self-absorbed

Focus on others and make an effort to pick up on their social cues, rather than focusing only on your own thoughts and behaviour.

As a first step, fostering an environment of awareness will help you learn a lot about yourself and your business. With awareness comes clarity, authentic expression and effective communications, and ultimately, transformation and growth.

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