We long to belong.
The desire to be a part of a community is a fundamental human yearning, yet broad swaths of Americans have never felt more isolated. In fact, four out of ten report regularly feeling lonely, and very few have more than two people they consider confidants. Why is this happening? What can we do about it? Is there an opportunity for businesses and organizations to fill the void? And if so, how do we design for belonging in brand communities?
Today, Jeffrey takes a deep dive into the concept of belonging with executive consultant Charles Vogl, author of The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging. Charles describes his personal feelings around being an outsider and discusses the top three trends contributing to the loneliness epidemic in the US. He shares his experience at Yale Divinity School, explaining the pervasive ‘crisis of belonging’ on campus and how that phenomenon informs his current work.
Charles also offers his definition of community as shared mutual concern and discusses how brands might foster genuine connection among a customer base. Jeffrey asks why leaders and event planners miss the mark, and Charles uncovers the necessity of facilitating shared experiences and investing in the growth of diverse groups. Listen in for insight on the value of story in revealing what a business values and learn how you can build a brand for belonging.
[4:34] Young Charles at his most free
[6:11] Charles’ feeling of being an outsider
[10:51] The rise of loneliness in the US
[14:05] The causes of this loneliness epidemic
[19:09] Charles’ experience at Yale Divinity School
[25:09] Charles’ definition of community
[28:11] How Charles describes the structure of community
[39:21] How to foster mutual care among a customer base
[43:56] How to foster diverse communities
[47:55] How leaders can create moments of openness
[57:06] How story fosters a shared experience
[1:01:26] What Charles is pursuing in the next year
The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging by Charles Vogl
‘Work and the Loneliness Epidemic’ in Harvard Business Review
Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg
Carrie Melissa Jones
‘Loneliness … An American Malady’ by Carson McCullers
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers