Maybe it's no coincidence that I am ruminating on ‘soul’ precisely at a time when I am, as I've been telling everyone who will listen, “doing some soul searching.”
What is soul? One definition is "a person's moral or emotional nature or sense of identity." Yup, that's what I'm searching all right. Another is "emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art." That is actually a pretty good description of what I like in a person. Or a place.
I spent some time this summer in a very beautiful place, surrounded by beautiful people, including some that I love dearly. Yet I found myself feeling very disconnected, almost anxious. A friend of mine observed, “Oh, it’s because you’re so sensitive to whether a place has soul. You won’t find that here.”
In the world of branding, we talk a lot about authenticity. The way that sense that something is real or genuine draws people to a brand. The can feel it, smell it. I think a key component of authenticity is soul. If a brand is persona, then it must have not only personality, tone of voice, and look-and-feel; it must have soul.
Searching for soul is serving me well now as I work on the brands I am building, not least of all my own ‘personal brand.’ What has soul has a history, roots, antecedents. A sense of purpose and intention. Introspection and self-awareness. Mindfulness. Ultimately: connection.