The depressing thing our critics continue to tell us is that we’re all insignificant cogs in the machine.  But the interesting thing about cogs is that each cog relies upon the other cogs for power and movement. When one small cog stops turning, it locks up the entire mechanism.  It’s good to be a cog. You just have to remember what kind of cog you are.

In reality, there are no insignificant cogs. While it is true that you are a trivial speck of dust in the universe (we all are), you are also an essential part of the machine. When you give up, it locks up everyone’s movement. When you become passionate, your purpose and drive carries that force to others.  So assuming we’re all cogs, what machine are we powering with our work?

We’re all powering the zeitgeist. The zeitgeist is the ever evolving collective consciousness of society. The zeitgeist is what’s on people’s minds and it shapes how trends are developed.

Both your marketing masterpieces and your daily mundane actions are contributing to your effect on the marketing zeitgeist. Big deliberate pieces like an ad campaign or new product launch have a focused impact and can change the mindset of a targeted group. But even small items you produce like a quick tweet or verbal remark have an effect on the zeitgeist. Much like Ray Bradbury’s butterfly in his short story, “A Sound of Thunder”, all of your actions have an amplifying effect on the bigger picture.

As of late, my life has been consumed with the idea of the Brand Zeitgeist, a brand that has permeated the collective consciousness of society. It’s a brand that’s top-of-mind and engrained in the lives of consumers and culture. The interesting thing about all these brands that achieved a higher level of consciousness in the zeitgeist is that they didn’t do it by themselves. The brand image was cultivated by their fans and customers. Each cog contributed a small bit of energy to get the machine running.

We’ve always known this was happening. But only recently, have we been able to see it develop in real time with the interconnectivity of the web. We can now see and track how each cog in the zeitgeist can spread their ideas, champion causes, or lead movements.

Remember who you are. You are not insignificant. You’re a cog in the zeitgeist and you have a huge impact with each move you make. Just remember to make each move count.

Author: Chris Houchens speaks to groups about marketing, blogs at and is the author of the new book, Brand Zeitgeist which is a basic primer on branding and the way companies can use the fundamentals of human nature to develop a brand strategy. Find Chris on Twitter