When we fulfill our function, which is to truly love ourselves and share love with others, then true happiness sets in. - Gabrielle Bernstein
If you're in Toronto and use the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) as public transit, you may have seen "The TTC Way" poster below:
Regardless of whether you believe in what it's saying or not, it's a pretty bold and powerful statement about who the organization aspires to be and what they value. These types of branding tools can connect staff, customers, and the community to each other and to shared aspirations.
Don't connection and shared aspirations sound like great outcomes for a relationship too? Inspired by the world of branding, we want to share with you a fun, creative, and adaptable approach to sharing your love with each other.
Branding your love
We scroll through and pass by messages and displays from brands that pump up a product or service all. day. long. They're prolific because brand strategies drive behaviours and they connect people to their perceived or real needs.
What if we leveraged what companies know about how branding works and used it to boost our relationships? For example, what if "ads" (i.e. posters, billboards, displays, etc.) in your home or on your devices featured you and your partner?
Specifically, what if they displayed words or illustrations of affirmation about what makes you YOU, from your partner's perspective? Likewise, what if you could create such displays about and for your partner? What if you branded you love?
Our experience with this has been quite positive, so we wanted to share it with you. Lindsey created a poster with positive affirmations about and for David when he was submerged with work and other stressors. It stated the following:
It also contained some cool design elements. We also have a canvas that we designed to remind of us our "relationship brand" that states:
Why does it work?
Positive affirmations work because repeated positive thoughts can literally re-wire our brains for happiness and self-efficacy. In addition, with a small dose of branding strategy and creativity, you could also have positive affirmations specifically designed for you, your partner, and your relationship around your home, at work, in your car, or on your devices to remind you that a) your are awesome and that b) you are awesomely loved!
The first display connected David with Lindsey's belief in him and reminded him that he has what it takes to overcome rough patches in life. It works particularly well for David because one of his top "love languages" (how he prefers to give and receive love) is through "words of affirmation" (more on this in a future post!). That said, it can work to varying degrees with anyone.
The second display reminds us of our shared aspiration for each other -- our relationship brand: to be whole and self-sufficient individuals interconnected by a common goal.
How can I make this work?
The First Display
This is one can be done as a surprise for your partner or loved one:
Set aside time… right now (we mean it, right now!);
Grab whatever you need to make an e-display or physical display or series of displays (like a branding campaign);
*Take a few moments to think about your partner's brand (i.e core attributes, how they show up in the world, what makes them unique, etc.);
Write it in the present tense or illustrate it;
Design it to your liking;
Share your loving message by installing it on their device (with consent) or taping it up somewhere visible like near their door, near the shoes they wear, in the cupboard they access daily, in the washroom, near their bed, etc.
Consider making a new one every few months to keep them relevant and because like ads, we can become desensitized to them.
*It works best if the positive affirmation comes from a place of genuine and unconditional love. In other words, pretend you're a neutral observer watching your partner throughout their best or every day moments, without judgment.
The Second Display
This one can be a fun group activity and you can follow the same steps except that the focus is your relationship's brand (i.e. core attributes and shared aspirations). We anticipate that there will be many meaningful chats if you do this together, especially if you use Relationship Zen Strategic Planning Phase 1 and Phase 2.
We hope this activity will provide you with fun, purpose, connection, and new insights.
We'd love it if you take a photo and share your loving displays on our Community Facebook group, or via any of our social media accounts by tagging us and using #RelationshipZen.
Know that love is yours, you will not go bankrupt by sharing it.― E'yen A. Gardner
Sending you love and light,