How to Create a Purposeful Brand
Last week, I attended the Purposeful Marketing masterclass with Simon Milton founder of the forward-thinking branding and marketing agency, Pulse Brands.
This was my second time attending a masterclass by Milton, and though I was familiar with the masterclass, I knew the key take-aways would be inherently different. The workshops evolve through the integration of the attendees’ experiences into the session, who bring their own professional insights to the table. From bankers and economists, to social entrepreneurs, heads of charities and brand managers, Pulse Brands brought together a dynamic group of professionals who are experts within their field.
“Purpose can only be achieved when it is lived by the organization, by its people and the way they live the brand.???
For people to collectively live the purpose of the organization, they must firstly be in touch with their own purpose.
“Sit back on your chair. Place your feet on the ground. Breathe deeply and ask yourself ‘Why am I here?’???
Milton used ten minutes of mindfulness as a way to delve into the personal side of purpose, to tap into each individual’s deepest creative potential.
This set the tone for the rest of the workshop.
Why is it important to align an individual’s purpose with the purpose of the brand?
Milton pointed out that when you go back to yourself and tap in to your truth, your purpose, you are able to go beyond doing what your clients expect of you, to bringing your own magic and deeper level of authenticity. Pulse Brands works with clients to rediscover or fully magnify their purpose and come back to the crux of why they do what they do and where they want to be in the world.
“A company’s brand is no longer defined simply by its logo. The brand is like a human and is complex and multifaceted and includes the organization’s history, vision, relationships and culture,??? explained Milton
He defined 12 principles, which you can delve deeper into at Pulse Brand’s next event, Pulse Quest. These principles can be used as tools to internalize and live out the purpose in the practical daily functions of the organization. Each table discussed the 3 principles they considered a priority and applied them to real life situations.
It is interesting to trace the common themes that emerged from the group discussions.
Humility was the most reoccurring principle. A purposeful brand is able to admit to errors and bring out the human aspect that loyal followers can engage with and relate to.
Humility is rooted in deep, empathic listening. “You do not necessarily have all the answers, but you are fully present and attentive to a person,??? explained one attendee. Top level managers, who listen empathetically to the people who actually deliver the product or service, also become directly connected to the customer, because they are the public facing representatives of the brand.
The mindfulness exercise in the beginning of the workshop is a good practice technique to improve this skill and focus our attention.
Starts with the Individual
Every organization is the sum of its employees- their personalities, identities and attitudes. These are all different. How can you bring together the purpose of each individual to be aligned with the purpose of the organization?
Milton’s principles highlight the importance of having a shared goal, which is communicated clearly to the team. The vision and values of the organization should act as a guiding framework so that employees can flex their differences while driving the organization in a common direction.
Each employee takes ownership of the brand and the message behind the brand which makes a shift from a disconnected brand, to a culture where the values are integrated in the core of the daily running of the organisation. Employees feel that what the company does matters and they can make a difference from within their company.
The brand manager of a multi-national hotel chain shared the experience of one receptionist who went out of her way to ensure a guest and her family’s needs were well taken care of. This impacted their whole vacation. The guests shared their experience online and this received international coverage. The receptionist was the public facing figure of the brand who lived the brand values which in turn had a positive impact on the whole organization.
A courageous leader who is driven by purpose is able to inspire employees and communicate the bigger vision and values clearly to them. This will guide the employees and define how the experience of the brand is lived daily.
Less Doing, More Being
As entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, or leaders of organizations, many attendees’ priority was getting things done, the operations of the organization. However, this cannot undermine the importance of being with your people. Leaders need to spend time thinking about the future and the direction they want to stir the organization in, collectively. Often purpose is not part of your job role. However , it is vital to make time to revisit your purpose.
This is why we go back to the mindful question of “Why am I here???? As one of the attendees pointed out, the mindfulness exercise that kicked off the session set the tone for the whole workshop as it prompted a deep dive into topics like humility that may not necessarily have been addressed if the space was not created. This is the pivotal point that drives the entire organization, the team and the individual.