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I had a bank client that wanted to explore the larger purpose they could embrace. We discussed the profound impact the bank could have in the lives of those they serve. We made good progress in clarifying that purpose. There was real desire in making a difference. But desire is only one part of the equation. The other part is courage. The courage to do the things to live that purpose. That’s where the wheels fell off for the bank. It happened when the discussion turned to overdraft fees.

People hate overdraft fees. But they end up paying them because of a moment of weakness. Or a struggle with money management discipline (I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced that at some time or another). We talked about how these fees were in direct opposition to their purpose. …


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A post from Fast Company introduced me to the Danish word ‘samfundssind’ which the post went on to define as “…to consider the needs of society above your own.”

The idea of samfundssind was used by the Danish to exhort the population to comply with the preventative guidelines during the pandemic. The result was low rates of infections and deaths in Denmark.

From the Fast Company Post:

“And research shows that — regardless of their gender or age — Danes are more concerned about infecting others than getting infected themselves.”

It’s interesting that the Danes were able to achieve such success by invoking an idea to put the needs of others ahead of yourself. …


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I’ve known brands that seem to be in a constant state of awe that they have such incredible customers. They are fun and energizing to work with.

Truth be told, the reason they have such incredible customers is because of that very awe that they have. Customers sense that. Call it feeling appreciated or feeling loved. It creates this magnetism that draws in customers and holds them. Embraces them.

Thanks, research

There have been a number of studies that reveal the benefits of practicing gratitude. This finding in a Fast Company post was particularly enlightening

“Grateful individuals may also be naturally prone to forming mutually supportive relationships. When someone expresses gratitude, the recipient is more likely to connect with that person and to invest in that relationship in the future.”


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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.

  • A Thankfulness Epidemic? — Any little bit of thankfulness is likely to spread. After all, it’s contagious. Thanking one person makes it more likely that they will thank another in turn. …

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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. …


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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:

  • We are all overwhelmed by the amount of information assaulting us
  • You’re not as interesting as you think you are.

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. …


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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.

GET A FREE CHAPTER OF THE BOOK — BIG AUDACIOUS MEANING

1. Have a process for clarifying a purpose

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. …


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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. …


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(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.

GET A FREE CHAPTER OF THE BOOK — BIG AUDACIOUS…


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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.

1. Do one of these two things

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? …

About

Dan Salva

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.

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