In 1989, I entered a Counseling Psychology program at Lesley University.  It was the early years of offering a holistic emphasis there and it was a hotbed of mindfulness fans.  In one direction was Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at UMASS Medical Hospital.  And across Harvard Square was the lab of Dr. Hebert Benson, best selling author of The Relaxation Response.

Mindfulness and awareness were deeply embedded in our classes.  Even back then, the research was robust around how mindfulness could have positive effects on medical conditions like high blood pressure and psychological issues like depression and anxiety.  But, nobody was talking about mindfulness in business …

Mindfulness in Business is HOT

Oh how 25 years can change things … 🙂

Today, mindfulness is showing up at some of the highest levels of business.  Google has it’s Search Inside Yourself Program.   At the Davos World Economic Forum, they couldn’t fit everyone trying to get into this presentation on Mindful Leadership.  Articles on mindfulness in business are showing up in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and the New York Times.  Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, wrote this blog post on the importance of mindfulness for startups.

It’s gotten to the point that even Harvard Business School professors are talking about The Tipping Point for Mindfulness.  For an overview on the science around mindfulness in business, check out this great research summary.

Here’s a chart that shows the fivefold increase of Google searches on the word “mindfulness” in the past 10 years (now around 27,000 per month):


Mindfulness searches on Google

Mindfulness searches on Google


7 Ways Mindfulness Can Improve Your Marketing

Mindfulness and marketing come together because they have the same goal – to be aware and present in the current moment and to listen non-judgmentally.  ~ Shalini Bahl

Despite this wonderful attention to mindfulness in topics like business leadership, it’s not yet a common theme in marketing circles.  Yet, I think mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence have something very powerful to offer marketers.

In fact, this combination has been one of the core strategies that has taken my coaching business global and it’s been very helpful for my clients as well.  So I’d like to share with you 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Increase Creativity and Results in Your Marketing:

  1. Understand your ideal client.  One of the reasons there’s so much hype and mechanical emphasis in marketing is that many businesses struggle to DEEPLY understand what their ideal client wants. Apple’s Steve Jobs was obsessed with this.  Did you know that Jobs was a committed Zen practitioner? Businesses who understand their ideal clients better are more successful – without the hype.
  2. Increase creativity. Through a process known as neurogenesis, mindfulness has been shown to increase your creativity.  In my experience, the main reasons for turning to hyped up or leaning heavily on mechanical marketing is because you can’t think of a more creative approach.
  3. More viral content.  There is a strong connection between emotions like curiosity and amazement and content that goes viral.   However, if a business attempts to manipulate emotions in an unskillful way, the push back can be very negative.  With mindful attention to your ideal client’s emotional world, you can create content that they will help you spread.
  4. Reduce burnout.  Growing a business is more a marathon than a sprint.  By helping you sleep better and reducing stress levels, mindfulness helps reduce burnout and allows you to stay engaged in your work through time.  We’ve all come across marketing that feels scripted and boring.  Mindfulness helps you stay fresh and alert.
  5. See and act upon opportunities.  During the 2013 Superbowl, there was a blackout.  The people at Oreo cookies decided it was an opportunity and created this simple image.  It was retweeted over 15,000 times and got over 20,000 Facebook likes.  Practicing mindfulness in your marketing can help you see creative opportunities and be more agile in your implementation.
  6. Articulate their culture.  With mobile devices, we are literally with our prospects wherever they go.  Mindfulness can help you identify the realities that your ideal client lives in.  Weave this culture into your marketing and you’ll increase their sense of confidence.  Notice how Erica Dwahan talks to Millennial Women Entreprenuers.
  7. Identify new products and services.  Marketers are known for talking, not listening.  Yet with the social web, marketing has shifted to a two way dialogue.  Mindful listening on social media can help you find new products and services.  And research suggests if you include your ideal client in the development phase, it’s more likely to be a success.

 What’s Your Experience?

I’d love to hear your experience weaving mindfulness into your marketing.  What’s worked well for you?  What questions do you have?  Please share your successes and your questions in the form of a comment below.