Life Is Good CEO on how Joy, Compassion, and Optimism help grow your Brand

Good retailers obsess over what their customers think and feel about. Core values begin to emerge as a result that humanize their brand, streamline their messaging, and grow their brand through community engagement and customer experience.


This was the topic of Tuesday morning’s NRF Big Show 2014 keynote session featuring BJ Bueno, Founder of The Cult Branding Company and Bert Jacobs, Co-Founder and CEO of Life Is Good.

BJ took the stage to outline the three core values that every good brand should strive to embody. In doing so, retailers create a level of communication with their customers that goes beyond transactions and reinforces their emotional connection with the brand.

Those core value are:

  • Joy – Coca Cola launched a happiness campaign that allowed their brand advocates to experience the emotional power of the stories featured in their campaign. As a result, consumers continue to love a brand who is already powerful.
  • Compassion – Google has a program to help executives become more compassionate and have genuine empathy for their customers.
  • Optimism- The power of optimism can transcend the cynicism that comes with age. Bert Jacobs at Life Is Good realized this when the bottom feel out of a box of t-shirts he as carrying through the rain and landed in the mud.

It was then time for Bert himself to take the stage. Clad in a t-shirt and armed with frisbees, he addressed the crowd saying “you are not retailers, you are people, you are people that love to laugh and have fun.”

“You were not made for retail,” he continued, “retail was made for you.”

He talked to the issue of the cynicism and how it grows inside us as we get older. He believes “Life Is Good” as a slogan is about maintaining that openness of when we were kids. For large-scale retailers, this is achieved by finding causes that align with their brand’ score values and nurturing them through them. As he put it “takers eat well, givers sleep well,”

As brands think about how to best convey their core values and messaging Jacobs has one piece of advice; “keep brand ideals simple and people will get it in an instant.” Simplicity and authenticity help your message grow your audience base which, in turn, leads to increased sales and brand engagement.

We have entered a world where customers are the co authors of your brand. “If they see something that is not authentic they will tear your business down,” said Jacobs. “If they see something that is authentic they will build it up.”

He then hurled another frisbee into the crowd.