Something occurred to me this morning.

Everything is balanced between Harmony and War. I’m no Zen Master, but I think this is what they mean by the whole Yin/Yang thing.

Think about this. War is awful. Harmony is good. But you really can’t have one without the other.

Let’s create the perfect utopia of human life and see how long it lasts.

Say you’ve got this harmonic village. Everyone has a place. Everyone has a job to be productive and part of the society. A man makes rope hammocks to trade for food and clothing and everything else he needs… Harmony… Peace…

But what if another guy decides he can make better rope hammocks and is willing to trade them for less food. Now you have War. The two men start to compete for sales. And maybe the first guy realizes he has to do a better job of his craft to eat. So that War spurs better quality. And that better quality spurs more Harmony… One begats the other.

In the animal kingdom, it’s the same story. The lions lounge around in the sun with each other in a pride (Harmony) but they have to violently attack anything that walks by so they can eat (War).

So what. What does this mean to me, the Marketing Guy.

Think about this. You are at War with your competitors. You are competing for customers (you are the prides of lions, the customers are the antelopes wandering by). This is a serious War for limited resources. But how do you win? By creating Harmony with your customers. You give them a good feeling (ahhh…) by doing business with you. They feel good about the value of your product, your service, the compliments they get by owning your product… The list goes on. But without that Harmony, there is no sale.

Then once you realize you MUST create that harmony to win the war, you can start to look at what you sell and how you sell it to see what you can do to increase that harmonious transaction.

I was thinking about This is the fashion accessory business my wife and daughter run. It’s really turned out to be a nice little business but you don’t have to look far to see the War and the Harmony.

The War is competition. My daughter, Marlo, had just found a girl at TCU (her college) selling exact knockoffs of her designs through a Facebook page to sororities. She offers to make the feather hair fascinators in your sorority colors. It’s an exact knockoff of her business. That’s War right in your own yard. The other layers of War are cheap, made in China knockoffs and the most fickle of things, the whims of fashion. Those are all pretty serious levels of War.

But where is the Harmony?

The Harmony is when a woman looks through the Web site, visualizing how she’d look with the clip. She orders one of these beautiful, complex, colorful pieces to match a favorite outfit. It comes in the mail a few days later, packed in a nice little box. She opens it and looks at the construction, the delicate details. Then she puts on that favorite outfit and places the clip in her hair. Then all day she get’s compliments from friends and strangers on how wonderful she looks. Her heart is happy. Harmony.

As marketers we need to understand how to become a part of that Harmony. How do we make our prospective customers feel good about doing business with us? How do we make them feel good about owning our products, or using our services. How can we begin to understand them. Be empathetic to their wants and needs? When we can start to understand them, we can start to understand what makes them happy, what brings them Harmony… And what brings them to doing business with us.

It’s interesting, once you start looking at everything through the Harmony and War Lens, you start to have a clearer understanding of how to deal with people and circumstances. You can start to understand the motivations of the forces around you. You can realize that you are either in a state of Harmony with you or a state of War. If something directly connects with you, it’s not going to be neutral… It’s going to War or Harmony.

Will you know how to win one and extend the other?