In the class The Branding of Me with Professor Gary Kayye this week, we discussed the power of empathy and its positive impact within the creative realm. Naturally, this topic fascinates me. (You’ve probably guessed by now that I find anything relating to personalized creativity enthralling. Even better, anything relating to storytelling).
There is an increasing demand for employees with strong emotional intelligence in the work force, no matter the industry. Daniel Goleman, a leading journalist interested about the field of empathy, once said that “CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise—and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence.” Being “book smart” doesn’t equal “people smart.” I think the difference is knowing how to apply our knowledge to our interactions with other people. After all, our relationships and connections are what really matter in the end.
Emotional intelligence, or being keenly empathetic, has many facets, but it really boils down to one thing: can you see other people from their perspective? Can you imagine yourself in their shoes, recognize the joy, frustration, or anguish they are feeling, and try to be there for them? Sometimes it’s not solving a problem, but instead being with others in the problem. We are remembered more for our impact on people’s lives, not the achievements or jobs we accomplish. Don’t get me wrong: those things are really important, but they are tools to help grow our connections with others.
This concept couldn’t be more relevant to our daily lives. It naturally grows the power of a creative message as well. To illustrate what empathy looks like, check out this ad from Dove entitled You’re more beautiful than you think. Note that it has received nearly 70 million views on YouTube alone and is one of the 20 most viewed branded videos of all time. Wow I wonder why.
Our branding class this week really convicted me to be aware of other people and to show them that I at least care. In the past few days alone, I’ve tried making my conversations with people (even those I don’t know well) as meaningful as possible, and I’ve seen them visibly light up. It’s amazing how one simple value can make others feel drastically more valued.