Episode 7 // Chivalrous Branding

Chivalry is art, not nature

Quote: “…the peo­ple must either be chival­rous on its own resources, or else choose between the two remain­ing alter­na­tives of bru­tal­i­ty and soft­ness. This indeed, part of the gen­er­al prob­lem of a class­less soci­ety, which is too sel­dom men­tioned. Will its ethos be a syn­the­sis of what was best in all the class­es, or a mere ‘pool’ with the sed­i­ment of all and the virtues of none?”

-The Neces­si­ty of Chival­ry by C.S. Lewis

Elevating the Conversation

Wis­dom from the past is often deep­er than the new, excit­ing, mind-blow­ing “brand wis­dom” we hear today. Today we’re about short­cuts. We’re cyn­i­cal about integri­ty and doing things the right way. But what if there were a bet­ter way?

Chivalry is Art, Not Nature

Chival­ry gives us an exam­ple of val­ues that focus on high­er ideas. In oth­er words, chival­ry, along with val­ues like it, help us focus on things out­side our­selves. These things tend to give us brav­ery and all the things we want.

The Two Kinds of “Things We Want”

We want mate­r­i­al pos­ses­sion, and we want hon­or. And we haven’t decid­ed which is most impor­tant.

The Stuff: Of course, part of the prob­lem is that we want a house, a car, the best job and the per­fect fam­i­ly. And then, when we have those things, we want more. We’re nev­er hap­py when we’re focused on our­selves.

The Hon­or: But what if we could just want hon­or? What if we could just want to be brave and capable…so we can take care of oth­er peo­ple? What if, instead of want­i­ng pow­er for our­selves, we want­ed it so we could take care of oth­ers?

Chivalry Has Lost Popularity Today

Maybe because it’s asso­ci­at­ed with the patri­archy. West­ern civ­i­liza­tion has giv­en us many of the best val­ues we now hold dear. Maybe there’s some­thing to it?

In fact, tak­ing all right and wrong out of our deci­sions, in an effort not to offend or polar­ize could be the very rea­son we lack lead­er­ship.

In any case, the lack of men who can take respon­si­bil­i­ty for deci­sions and for oth­er peo­ple is hurt­ing Amer­i­ca. So how do we begin to reverse this?

Chivalry in History

Some his­to­ri­ans play down the idea of chival­ry, claim­ing that it wasn’t actu­al­ly prac­ticed very often by knights in the Mid­dle Ages. This may seem like an objec­tion until we real­ize that it has noth­ing at all to do with our con­ver­sa­tion. If they’re good ideas, then they’re good ideas. Not only that, but I find it hard to believe that chival­ry became so pop­u­lar in his­to­ry, despite the idea that nobody actu­al­ly prac­ticed it.

But let’s look at the rules. A cou­ple his­to­ri­ans named Mills and Gau­ti­er list the root ideas of chival­ry below:

  • Loy­al­ty: They were loy­al to the coun­try in which they were born.
  • For­bear­ance: They were patient.
  • Hardi­hood: They were strong.
  • Largesse or Lib­er­al­i­ty: They were gen­er­ous, and they hat­ed bribes.
  • The davidic eth­ic: Made sure the weak weren’t unfair­ly tak­en advan­tage of.
  • Hon­or: They believed that liv­ing out the above val­ues was more impor­tant than life.

My source for the above list is here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivalry). The def­i­n­i­tions are mine.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you skep­ti­cal of this whole thing? Are you a lit­tle inspired, maybe to prac­tice one of these things a lit­tle more in your life? Also, what enables you to prac­tice these things, even when the sit­u­a­tion seems dire? I’d like to hear from you in the com­ments.

CTA: If you’ve enjoyed this pod­cast, and you want to learn the steps of accel­er­at­ing your organization’s abil­i­ty to lead using brand and con­tent strat­e­gy, then let’s talk. You can reach me at chris@chrisstadler.com.


  • For a full read­ing and visu­al of Lewis’ “The Neces­si­ty of Chival­ry,” check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBT9LasyC3E

If you’ve enjoyed this out­line, and you want to learn more about stand­ing up a brand in your own orga­ni­za­tion using brand and con­tent strat­e­gy and the brand hack­ing method, which means keep­ing it sim­ple and iter­at­ing quick­ly, then let’s talk.

Bio: I’m Chris Stadler, and I’m inter­est­ed in show­ing brands how to right-size your promis­es so that they’re promis­es you can keep. Because it’s not the expen­sive brand­ing agen­cies that make great brands; they’re just the dec­o­ra­tors. It’s your lead­er­ship and integri­ty that make it all work. So get into the process.