Over the years, I have written a number of times about the magic thankfulness can have in our lives and on our brands. On the occasion of Thanksgiving, I thought it appropriate to revisit some of those posts. Rereading them myself reminded me of the superpower that we all get when we have that attitude of gratitude.
If you work in branding and marketing, you know it can be filled with a ton of cynicism. It makes you feel like it has become part of getting a degree in the field. I can almost hear those interviews with recent grads.
“Not only did I take the required Intro To Cynicism, but I got an A in Advanced Cynicism!”
A healthy dose of cynicism is a valuable tool for any branding pro. It helps keep you honest about your brand. But cynicism is too easy. It doesn’t take any effort to reel off what could go wrong. That can snuff out a “what-if”. This is when potentially game-changing thoughts are in their infant state. People can either be threatened by the idea or just too busy (or too lazy) to want to emotionally commit to exploring a potentially big idea. …
I’ve worked with a lot of brands over more than three decades. Today, when I’m asked for the crucial insights that every brand should know, I offer these two points:
Let’s unpack those a bit. First, nobody has the time or patience to work at getting to know your brand. That doesn’t mean that if you are a shoe seller all you have to do is say, “We sell shoes!” Sure, that’s absolutely clear. But there are a ton of shoe sellers out there telling us that they sell shoes. …
There is a growing consensus about the power of purpose for organizations in today’s world. Unfortunately, there has been much more talk about the theory of purpose than there has been about how an organization can actually clarify and champion its purpose.
Through my work helping organizations clarify a purpose and bring it into the brand story, I have identified a list of 5 must-haves for helping you make your purpose relevant, meaningful, and inspiring.
This should seem obvious, but, too often, I’ve seen organizations decide that all it takes is getting the leadership team in a conference room and brainstorming ideas. …
There is no shortage of articles about the importance of embracing a brand purpose in today’s world.
According to some reports, organizations that embrace a purpose outperform the market. Other studies point to the effect a purpose has on everything from attracting and retaining the best recruits to creating advocates and evangelists for the brand.
It seems most articles either talk about the importance of purpose for an organization or highlight a company that is seeing the benefits of being purpose-driven (like Patagonia or Unilever brand Dove).
While these are useful for us to understand the power of purpose, they give us very little guidance on how to actually go about the business of clarifying our purpose, expressing it, and building adoption for it. This is why I wrote Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. It walks you through the process from understanding what a purpose is (and is not) to bringing that purpose to life in our brand story. …
(Excerpted from the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story)
Who is the Hero of this story we are creating? Is it our organization? After all, it is the story we are creating. We should be the Hero of our story, right?
This is where a shockingly large number of organizations go wrong. How many times have we encountered an organization intent on telling us the saga of who they are, what they do, and why they’re special? It’s as if they believe that the telling of their triumphs will mesmerize us.
Among all the different channels and technology out there, email remains one of the most vital. Sure, it’s not sexy like emerging martech. It’s a workhorse. People use it. And people rely on it. That means it can be invaluable to your brand — if you give it the love it deserves. That means paying attention to these three maxims.
People are busy. They are inundated with messages. You need to provide something that is empathetic to their situation. That means:
If you’re using the opportunity to hype your offering or to talk about your latest accomplishment, you’re going to lose them. You need to be serving them. Providing real value to their lives. Look at the intent of your email. Can you reframe to either help people solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity that will make their lives easier or provide a little joy? …
These chaotic times make it difficult to know what you should be doing with your brand. You want to connect with those you hope to serve. At the same time, you don’t want people to feel like you are one of the many opportunists out there who see the state of our world as a chance to profit from people’s uncertainty.
How do we make a judgment about what we should do?
One of the greatest urgings I’ve heard during the pandemic is to ‘help others live without fear’.
If we’re considering a brand effort and we’re wondering if we should or shouldn’t do it, this one axiom can become our guiding principle. Should we proceed? …
At the time of this writing, we are experiencing divisive and turbulent times in our country that are unlike anything I have ever seen over more than 5 decades.
As we watch events unfold, it’s easy for us to dwell on all that is wrong. It can consume us. Which is why we need to step back and ask, “What lesson lies within all this?”
Anyone who works with a brand knows the power of fear. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is one of the most potent motivators for us humans. And it’s not the only fear that brands exploit. …
When it comes to building an irresistible brand, this one factor can make or break the effort. Even if you think you have this nailed, it’s worth revisiting the hero of your brand story.
I have put together a strategic framework that I use to help companies. It’s called the Thrust Story Framework. In that framework, the very first thing we must establish is who is the hero of the brand story.
The simple answer is that the hero is that person you hope to serve. You’ll notice I didn’t say ‘target’, ‘capture’, or ‘convert’. I said ‘serve’. This is an important distinction. There is a big difference between an organization that is out to convert you versus one that hopes to serve you. …