The Phelps Group believes in something Howie Cohen, our creative coach, labeled "Whole-Life-Branding." It recognizes that there's a new consumer out there. One whose fundamental beliefs have been shaken.

It seemed to hit all at once starting in 2001. From terrorist attacks to 401(k) meltdowns to greedy accounting tactics and the sins of the Catholic Church, consumers have felt betrayed (disappointed, confused and angered) and they're looking for something new in the brands that they choose – something to believe in. Brands that aren't just trying to sell them something. But are interested in becoming an integral part of their lives – their whole lives.

Here are the four requirements of a Whole Life Brand:

  • Life Affirming – they enrich the lives of those who buy them.
  • Simplicity – appreciation of simple pleasures.
  • Honesty – they represent themselves truthfully.
  • Connectivity – supporting your values and beliefs (family, church, community, etc.)

Connectivity connects all the dots – consumer, product, neighborhood, beliefs and values. An example is Target stores.

Target donates 10% of its profits to charity. That's going beyond selling me products. It's connecting my purchase, to my values, to my causes and my beliefs. Our client, PETCO, connects my love for animals with a drive to save animals' lives and find homes for them.

In a world where new competitors are springing up everywhere and brand loyalty is waning, Whole-Life-Branding has the potential to create brand loyalty, repeat business and the rare privilege of having a "customer for life."