Responsive vs Reactive - Meditation for Brands

Jun 24, 2019

Today’s meditation session on Headspace was about the reactive mind. Andy Puddicombe, with his very soothing voice, was talking about how the busy reactive mind chases afterthoughts or resists thoughts. His advice was to watch and observe instead of engaging with the thought and reacting so quickly. When we let the mind observe, we can respond skillfully. The mind will then be responsive, engaging only with what is helpful.

We can go on talking about meditation but our topic for today is not that. It is about how we can apply the same approach to brands.

What is the difference between reactive and responsive?

Although both words include a certain reaction to a stimulus, the first one is rather emotional, using our "lizard brain," our fight or flight attitude.
The latter is more about acknowledging that a certain event/situation happened without having the need or the urge to react on the spot instead let our mind process, analyze, and plan.

In business, those events and situations can be a competitor’s new campaign, a market dip, the emergence of a new competitor... A reactive brand automatically engages with the situation without proper planning, which can make it look emotional and confusing to consumers. Working on a short term basis might harm the brand in the long run and sometimes create a disconnect with its values and brand personality.

A responsive brand would think the situation through and only take action if it is aligned with the brand’s value and vision. It might look to some that the brand is slow and not keeping up with the market. But in fact, a responsive brand is considering all options and not acting based on an emotional first thought.

Next time, you catch your brand chasing a thought, take a few deep breaths and make sure it is not reacting too quickly and whatever activation/campaign you are planning, it should be aligned with your brand strategy.