Through profound experiences, both personal and external, the human-centred, experiential brand ‘ReThink’ was born. With the tagline Transforming Minds, Changing Lives, its founder Ernie Ross of Ross Advertising explained that ReThink’s concept was simply but effectively about shifting perspectives—looking at the world the way it is not the way we are.
To encapsulate his theory, it’s about those moments in life that force one to rethink and breathe the start of establishing true identity, discovering purpose and creating a legacy of intangible value.
On these fundamentals, added now to the already existing resonating body of work done by ReThink, was the international success of its initiative “Intangience,” a methodology recently certified by the United Nations University for Peace and incorporated as bona fide certificate programme.
Over the eight years of its existence, ReThink conceptualised initiatives all based on human connection, like its happiness workshops and kindness cards, and its T&T perspective on the UN observances—World Kindness Day and International Day of Happiness—in which tailored activities were developed to impart not just a moment of kindness, but the transformation of a mindset that can be passed on.
It includes initiatives like The Gift, a random blessing of gifts to people, but not without ensuring psychological food for that much-needed shift in perspective. Inside those gifts, three questions are always posed to induce introspection:
1. Who am I?
2. What is my purpose?
3. How will I be remembered?
Of this milestone achievement, Ross told the story of how the “intangience” philosophy came to be, inspired by the words of a dying man, and what it is poised to accomplish.
He said his late brother-in-law Brian was a man who embodied and lived out the true meaning of happiness. It was from Brian’s hospital bed these words were spoken: “He said to me, ‘Ernie, you know what you’re doing is intangible right. There is a world of branding but then there is a branding of intangible value’.”
The night before Brian died he researched material and sent it to Ross to show him he was already doing intangible branding but was not aware.
It forced Ross to rethink: “I looked at what I was doing and I realised the very same three questions, I had put into the gift is what I was doing in my work.
Depicting the “intangience” philosophy as a science—the making of creative devices linked to human connection—Ross said over the years it was intangible branding that gave giant brands like Coca-Cola, Nike and Star Bucks, their billions.
He said more than a soda, coffee or athletic footwear, they all figured out how to satisfy the craving of human connection which manifested in their slogans, campaigns, promotions etc. He said it the key was personalising the brand and making it relatable to its audience.
But for intangience or intangible branding to succeed, Ross said there must be the currency of conversation—relevance, regard and resonance.
It was while in Costa Rica, that Ross’s intangience philosophy became known to the United Nations University for Peace after it was presented at the Global Happiness Summit.
Following his presentation, a friend suggested he have the methodology validated. Ross reached out to the university to take a deeper look at the programme.
It was subsequently reviewed and with the guidance of the co-founder of the university, Ross learned how to develop his philosophy into a certification programme which was later validated, certified and branded by the university. It is currently been taught to the university’s students and businesses globally. The university is also using it as a model to develop its intangible branding.
The Intangience Certificate programme can be accessed online through the university. However, Ross said through ReThink he will also be offering the course free of charge to any emerging business.
“If you can establish proof to us that you are an emerging brand, someone who lost a job, someone looking to set up a new business but you don’t have the backing and support, we will provide that to you free of charge,” he said.
Among several stages Ross is expected to present on, he is scheduled to speak at the Global Happiness Summit in March 2021.