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In the geopolitical buildup we see in the news lately, one shiny example has emerged – that truth lasts longer as the tool to build a brand, rather than mere oratory skills or even deception.

All too often, the true agenda of something only comes to light on hindsight, or long after the dust has settled. History has proven, time and again, that many people are hoodwinked by rhetoric or great speeches, and then become disillusioned when the truth is unraveled when all the ugly agenda has already swept away their loot and moved on.

In the corporate arena, much is the same. We as mere consumers can be hoodwinked, if the marketing machinery becomes a relentless onslaught that we become exhausted from these, and may succumb to be yet another digit in the balance sheet of these brands.

Since the dotcom era of the late 1990s onwards, and its subsequent collapse, we have seen time and again, the sudden meteoric rise of seeming “stars”, and their quick demise over weeks, months, or mere years. The onslaught of patent trolls add to the insanity of the plate of transient exuberance, with no real fruition of dedicated hard labors like traditional businesses.

And yet, if we slow down our paces, it is easy to find tiny but illuminating beacons of good honest brands, tucked away perhaps in a tiny corner in a run-down building in the south of Taiwan, a humble hut in a remote corner of Kyoto, Japan, or even a nice little dusty shop in a bustling market in Singapore.

These small businesses have no fancy logos, no artsy copy littered across the land on giant billboards or buses, no great speeches by top executives wrestled from other corporations with huge remuneration. These small businesses are just simple, honest businesses that have served their customers honestly, respectfully, and warmly. And they have not merely survived, but thrived, sometimes over decades, and even over a century.

There is no secret to a long-serving brand, or a lasting company. Many of the fancy slogans or laborious copy found in thick management tomes are nothing but mere imagination or delusions by those capable of crafting artful words with little resemblance to reality. Some other works are merely regurgitations of simple truths in life tenured through the honest labors of people from centuries of human history.

A lasting brand, or a lasting business, is really about the art of truth, of working and dealing with people simply, honestly, respectfully, and warmly. It is not difficult to understand, and yet, difficult to do on a daily basis. We need to rekindle our own good sense and humanity, and tender ourselves to constant discipline until we hone our rough edges into a shiny tool, and all that remains is our humanity, serving others.