Mindful Marketing is bullshit. Until it isn’t.

I recently had tea with a friend who happens to be a Mindfulness teacher. I invited her over to share my vision for Oyl + Water and ask her to guide a meditation at our first Mindfulness workshop at the newly opened OW HQ. Being ever mindful, present and thoughtful, she paused and said quite plainly, “I don’t feel comfortable charging money for people to breathe.” Totally, I said. These classes are more than a meditation. They are instructional, and we’ll offer some for free. “And who would we invite?” she wondered. “Is this for prospective clients?” No, I said. It’s for the public. It’s for the people in the neighborhood who would rather pop by for a deep inhale than stop by the bar for a quick drink before heading home. “Got it.” But she was still perplexed.

After a few more clarifying questions, it occurred to me that she was trying to get at something but wasn’t coming right out and asking. She wanted to know what’s in it for me. In answering her unspoken question, I had to share a deeper, meatier layer of my WHY.

But first, a disclaimer:

The truth is that Mindful Marketing is total bullshit. Until it isn’t. It’s lip service and cliché-loaded copywriting. Until there’s substance. The whole idea is just marketing hype. Until it turns all the expectations and limitations of marketing on its head.   That’s what we’re here to do, and that’s what I told Ms. Mindful over tea.

Now, back to the meat.

In my quest to understand and apply Mindful practices in my business, I have had two revelations. These small but perspective-shifting insights have changed the way I think about marketing, approach creativity and show up in the world. And they have inspired the evolution of my company.

 

Sorry, we don’t sell Mindfulness here 

Mindfulness isn’t a service. It’s a state of being. It’s not something you can offer to another. It is something you can be for another. It’s not the creative solution. It is the space where creative solutions are born. As a creative-minded, soul-guided, *feminine-paradigm-oriented entrepreneur, I am called to create environments that support others in going to a deeper place so they can get to a higher place. And because I want the world to be filled with creative-minded, soul-guided, feminine-paradigm-oriented people who are deeply connected to their WHY, Oyl + Water will be offering community Mindfulness classes and workshops. It’s not what marketing companies do. But we never wanted to blend in anyway.

 

You are your own Guru

Mindfulness is about being fully present with what is and inhabiting your own energy. This means resisting the temptation to react, and instead, choose to respond. This requires suspending judgement, of self or others, and detaching from the story that’s on repeat in your mind. This allows for the moment to unfold in completely unexpected and wonderful ways, because you don’t need to control the situation, you just need to practice acceptance of your thoughts and command over your actions. Imagine if offices and governments were run with leaders who did this?

 

Make room for Magic

Mindful Marekting is only not bullshit if it’s practiced in an environment that stays ruthlessly committed to its WHY, maintains its authenticity and, at the same time, makes room for the magic that comes from a creative, mindful team. This is the secret sauce to ensure you, and your brand, Never Blend In.

 

*gender-neutral; nurturing, empathetic, community-oriented, collaborative, earth-based wisdom

 

5 responses to “Mindful Marketing is bullshit. Until it isn’t.

  1. Yes! “Mindfulness is about being fully present with what is and inhabiting your own energy. This means resisting the temptation to react, and instead, choose to respond. ” This is exactly the conversation we should be having. I provide bookkeeping and financial services to small businesses and someone told me I might want to limit my outreach to yoga studios and the like because of the heavy woo woo in my marketing. I struggled to explain that bringing mindfulness to your finances is just like bringing mindfulness anywhere else. Until you get still and pay attention, until you acknowledge what has been doing/is being done, and until you let go of whatever story is causing you to react as opposed to respond, you can’t expect your intentions for your business to come to fruition. I didn’t say it as eloquently as you did – but that will go into the next round of conversation for sure. Thanks for this.

  2. Very interesting and thought provoking. I have a problem with the idea that Mindfulness cannot be sold. I know we get into these quandaries about “McMindfulness” but it highlights a double standard we have in our society. It is perfectly acceptable to get rich selling cars and cellphones but as soon as someone tries to make a profit out of selling wellbeing their intentions are questioned. But if a capitalist society is based on exchanging value, shouldn’t we be valuing mindfulness more than cars and cellphones? It seems to me that either we need to get comfortable with people selling wellbeing and spirituality or we should close up the whole capitalist free-market economy as a giant failed experiment, good only for driving the sales of widgets but not for meaningfully improving peoples’ lives.

    1. Jeremy, thank you for posing this very important question. I think a proper answer may require another blog post because it is so layered, particularly when we bring in the topic of economic systems. But let me address the nuance of what I was implying. I do support the creation and promotion of wellness and Mindfulness experiences, curriculum, apps, books, seminars, etc. And I think it’s perfectly acceptable to attach a monetary value to these. But I don’t believe Mindfulness is a service. When we go in for a spa treatment, lay down on a table and receive a massage, we’ve been served. We leave an hour later having received a service. Most things in a capitalist society are like this. But Mindfulness is one of few things that the participant has to actually do, or be, herself. One can pay thousands of dollars for a weekend summit on Mindfulness and leave having never experienced it. So, in my opinion, the best way to help another experience Mindfulness is to be mindful ourselves. We know that we are affected by, and often mirror, other’s energy. When I’m in the presence of someone mindful, it has a positive effect on me. So my goal, and the way I’m approaching it with my business, is to be that mirror. To your point about capitalism, yes, I believe we should place a higher value on mindfulness than on “things”. But, the fine line is crossed when we commodify it, and treat it like something you “have to buy” instead of something you already have. If we keep the exchange clean, and use our platforms (free or not) to educate others on how to access this innate gift, then we all profit.

  3. What a fabulous post, Rachel! I love your writing, as always. I hope you find a way to bottle your mindfulness workshops for those of us outside of your neighborhood! I was just drooling over our friend LotusWei’s Flowerlounge tour… I agree, clarity with one’s WHY brings the necessary consistency to everything one’s business does. We have all the room in the world to play with “how” when we know the “why.”

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