Grand Lodge Meet & Greet
Monday, July 25, 2016
Brethren, amid the excitement and jubilations surrounding Grand Lodge, a young lady passed away last week. She was a number of things to a number of people, a mother, sister, friend, wife and much more. What made it significant for me lies in the context of her Service. Her sister and daughter both spoke so eloquently and lovingly with calm composure and great self control. Indeed, her entire family exhibited that same quality throughout.
In later conversation with them, I learned that they both belong our Rainbow Girls Organization and that more significantly, they attribute their specific calm and control to the teachings and practices of Rainbow Girls.
The second item of impact was the Spiritual aspect. Poetry and celebration were the over-riding components woven into the peace and tranquility of Spiritual calm and uplifted hearts in a time of turmoil and personal sadness. Something of a unqualified foundation or cornerstone, from which the whole of the balance ensues. The realization that at least some basic reverence and respect for a Higher Power, carries us through Life and its vicissitudes. Whether or not we subscribe to the allegory or dogma of it is quite inconsequential. In the end, we come back to its peaceful rapture. Even more relevant is the fact that throughout much of our life it lays dormant and quiet in the background until such time as it is needed by us.
Thirdly, we are faced today with a number of concerning challenges, challenges we can no longer afford to be complacent with nor fail to take action on. Masons are notorious for recognizing the ails that afflict them but for then discussing them at endless length and without resolve.
Lastly, I’d like to discuss a seemingly non Masonic topic, that of Branding. A topic the average person is terribly unfamiliar with yet one which has a considerable impact on our daily lives.
You should also know that contrary to general belief, it is Consumers who build Brands, not companies. This is an undeniable and a fundamental marketing truth. Consumers give Brands value by developing perceptions and expectations around those brands. Companies enhance their value by delivering the consistent brand experiences that consumers trust.
Human psychology and how it affects Consumer behavior is the foundation of Brand building.
- What do consumers need?
- Do they really need those things or do they just think they do?
- What drives them to actually take action and buy once a real or perceived need is identified?
As an aside and for Freemasons in particular, I think the time really has come for us to shrug off the oafish sloth of a complacent, submissive and somewhat denigrated socially accepted branding. And in that void, vibrantly live and practice the Principles, Virtues and Values of the outstanding and moral Mason. Its time we as Masons began the rebuilding of our special and unique Brand, from within.
The key words here are Needs and Actions, and the best Brand marketers have paid attention to their marketing, psychology, and philosophy professors. They have seen through experience that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Aristotle’s Seven Causes of Human Action can be directly applied to consumer behavior and Brand marketing. You’ll never really “get” marketing if you don’t “get” the psychology of needs and the philosophy of action.
But lets step back a moment to Rainbow Girls. I don’t doubt there are few in the room who know much of Youth Initiatives in Masonry. But as can be seen, it has an impact socially and should have more of one Masonically. We like to say that Masonry is in the hands of our youth but what are we doing to actually foster that? There are three Youth Groups under the umbrella of the Craft, Rainbow Girls, DeMolay for boys and Jobs Daughters. Within those groups, its seems clear that that they are receiving some fine mentorship in character building, leadership skills and personal life fortitude.
The fall short here is that they are under supported and under funded. I might suggest that our Lodges begin to really employ their talents and use them to assist at banquet hours, District events and other Masonic activities. I suggest that a small investment in our youth now will yield larger dividends later.
Ensuing from this bought home the realization that there is much more need in Masonry for regular and insightful Spiritual intercourse. Not in any religious sense, but more in the expression of the wonders of His works. That indescribable Spirit of Man which resonates in the heart of each of us and binds us together as one Humanity. That unique inner quality that raises empathy and compassion, caring and sadness for the strife in another persons life. Even in Lodge, a simple Chaplain’s Minute or respectful invocation may carry subtle but great consolation for a brother in distress.
A good friend of mine recently gave me a marvelous acronym for the word “Bible”. It stands for Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. How wonderful is that? Spirituality, the cornerstone and foundation of every Man’s Faith, no matter how it is practiced or dispensed. I submit that like our forefathers, a return to it in some reasonable sense would greatly benefit society today.
Returning now to the ails of Masonry, one of the most important aspects of any marketing communication is a strong call to action. But, aligning a marketing call to action with one of the seven causes of human action defined by Aristotle thousands of years ago is essential to getting the best results and maximizing return on investment.
Aristotle’s Seven Causes of Human Action
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Self Actualization
And So What?
These are all motivators that drive people in different ways, and some people are more affected by some causes than by others. If you can understand how the causes affect people in specific ways, then you may be better able to influence them and motivate them effectively.
In particular, Maslow wanted to understand the specifics that motivate people. He believed that people progress along a motivational system unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires. And, he often noted that people are usually individually motivated to achieve those particular needs. When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfill the next one, and so on. Most will know that his hierarchy of needs is most often depicted as levels within a pyramid. This five stage model can be divided into basic and psychological needs which ensure survival.
e.g. ( physiological, safety, love, and esteem) and growth needs (self-actualization).
The basic needs or deficiency, are said to motivate people when they remain unmet. Also, the need to fulfill such needs will become stronger the longer the period they are denied. For example, the longer a person goes without food the more hungry they will become.
One must satisfy lower level basic needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs. Once these needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called self-actualization.
Every person is capable of and has the desire to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization. Unfortunately, progress is often disrupted by failure to meet lower level needs. Life experiences, such as illness, job loss or family strife may cause an individual to fluctuate between levels of the hierarchy.
Maslow noted only one in a hundred people become fully self-actualized because our society rewards motivation primarily based on esteem, love and other highly social needs.
So why have I highlighted and made note of these particular items this evening, Civility, Youth, Spirituality and Branding,? Because, its your view of these specifics and a personal call to Action; through your needs and esteem hierarchy, which will form the foundation of Freemasonry as we move through our troubled times.
Civility, the character of the Man and his deportment. Youth, the future of all society and our leadership. Spirituality, a subtle transient element in each of us as creatures, a cornerstone of personal fortitude and a foundation upon which our whole future rests.
Consider if you will, that the problems facing Freemasonry are largely from within over the far more popular view. Consider that we are far more in need of an in-house image and Branding revival than any Media Ad or Public Service minute could possibly provide.
Consider that the subtle yet truly tangible qualities, aspects and product of Freemasonry are not wrapped up in a clever Ad; which by the way, only brings them to the door. It’s what happens after entry that makes the lasting impression and creates the tie that binds. Brethren, that’s YOU; the face of our Craft, its backbone and saving grace. It is YOUR identity and attachment to the Brand that gives it wings!
Brethren this is an Aha Moment, that incredibly simple yet poignant moment where lights flash, bells sound and eyes light up. So ask yourself, DO YOU HAVE A BRAND IMAGE? Do you project that image everywhere you go? Is that image a personal preference or reflective and encompassing of Masonic merit and principle? Do you offer it to every applicant, FC and MM and, Past Master in your Lodge? Are the virtues of Brotherly Love, Relief and Support alive in You and your Lodge, the real Truth of Freemasonry!
Don’t just hope that our consumers understand what you want them to. Make sure they understand with no room for confusion. No mistaking the reality of our fraternal bond and virtues. It is without question of any kind ours to give as a consumer product or ours to loose to the competition. Remember and recall daily, that our Youth, the Public, our brethren and the Spirit within each of us is dependant upon this particular Brand of Human need. Every Human wants it, every one of us searches for it, and when it comes to finding it, doubt not that it is available through you!
In closing, I wish to reiterate that we are my brothers, the face of a fine social civility, and that membership in our great fraternity is an honor and a privilege. That we are indeed the Brand itself and should conduct ourselves as men with that considered distinction. It is asked for from the heart and is earned by repeated trials and approbations. That to society outside and for the benefit of our Youth, we must always be the voice of calm reflection, the mediator for mutual resolution, the supporter of humanity over crass mediocrity. That the Spirit within you makes a difference and that this difference is for you to discover and present.
Our lives today are complex and inter-active, remember that mutual benefit far outweighs and is far more rewarding than self imposed individuality. That the cultivation and development of the Human mind is our goal which will in turn will lead us to true happiness in the pleasing of each other and the sharing of that happiness.
My brothers there is no smoke and mirrors here! You, are the very heart and Brand of Freemasonry! The self marketed quality that others will seek out for themselves because Quality carries its own distinction and everyone wants it. Before you look to outside methodologies for help, reflect upon the practices which have carried us for centuries. Take them with you each and every day!
Thank you Worshipful Master!