Companies that engage with big B, Brand are companies that are better aligned, more innovative, and attract top talent. Companies that make brand an afterthought about how to package a message or dress up a product are leaving money on the table. Customer empathy is critical to long-term success; demonstrating that empathy through every decision your company makes is the start of a long-term plan for success – just ask Amazon. Yet, too often, branding is used as a means of policing within an organization, rather than a means of inspiring innovation and creativity.
What clients are often seeking is something most of the market refers to as “positioning”. Yet, that’s a word frequently assigned as the emotional descriptor of the attributes/benefits of a product or how marketing should “spin” a product to sell more, faster, and to a broader set of people. Whether it’s a pyramid, a platform, or a framework, it’s not enough on its own to inspire and align teams to innovate and create. What companies actually need, and what we aim to do, is closer to what I’d call a “radiant purpose.”
Purpose because it should be the motivation that sits as the common denominator between your employees – be they janitorial or managerial or the inventors of the very things you sell – your current customers and your future customers. Radiant because it should do just that: radiate from the core of your organization out to every part of what you do. Your hiring practices, your engineering roadmap, your customer service training, and, yes, your communications, design and marketing.
Instagram is a great example of what we mean by radiant purpose, as reported in Fast Company. Up against stiff and growing competition, Instagram fought the instinct to batten down the hatches. Instead, they grappled with the question of “who are we really and why do we matter to the market?” Their answer was much bigger than square pictures or photo sharing. By declaring a deeply emotional and meaningful purpose of strengthening relationships through shared experiences, Instagram created a way for everyone in the company to align behind a single concept. Innovation soared, but consistency in purpose never faltered.
How are you ensuring that your purpose is market-relevant, credible to what you actually do, and radiating throughout and across your entire organization? Is your roadmap built not just with opportunity but with purpose? Are you using brand to police or to inspire? Used for good within your organization, Brand with a big B will unite your team and serve as a magnet for both talent and customers. Know your higher purpose and how it connects to your broadest set of constituents.