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How to begin unleashing your purpose-driven story.

Embracing a purpose — or a Big Audacious Meaning — is a big deal for any brand. It’s one of the most powerful means of engaging with those we hope to serve.

Unfortunately, bringing it into the brand story can seem daunting.

While it shouldn’t be taken lightly, embracing a brand purpose shouldn’t be so intimidating that an organization continuously delays taking advantage of everything it has to offer.

I have seen this happen with more than one organization. Here are some ways to unleash that purpose-driven story.

The worst thing to do is embrace a purpose and then have everyone start to question the legitimacy of you as a champion for that purpose. Start by being honest. Let everyone know that you aren’t perfect and that the pursuit of this purpose is helping you become a better organization.

When Gillette decided to take on toxic masculinity, they immediately faced critics who pointed out that the brand contributed to the problem for years with the way they portrayed men. It would have been better for Gillette to address this in the launch of their effort. Owning your faults does nothing but make you more believable about the purpose you want to champion.

As I mentioned, this is a pursuit of a purpose. It is a journey. As such, you should invite those you hope to serve to join you on this journey.

Let them know there will be stumbles as well as triumphs. That’s the nature of a journey. Most of all, show them how they can be a collaborator in helping advance the purpose that you are embracing. In this way, it no longer is just your purpose. It becomes everyone’s purpose. When everyone buys in, it becomes way more powerful than anything you do on your own.

Start with your team members. If they are on board, everything goes much smoother. And really involve them. Simply rolling out your newly clarified purpose to the team is not enough. They need to feel like they had a say in the process.

I recommend bringing together a group of internal influencers to be part of the process from around the organization. Then have them report back to their peers regularly. After the unveiling of your newly clarified purpose, have them serve as a purpose advisory board, helping to spotlight what is working and what is not. And even collecting and suggesting new ideas to help bring the purpose to life throughout everything the organization says and does.

If you have already started the process or even already clarified the purpose without internal influencers, you still need to bring them together. It could mean the difference between meaningful transformation and everyone simply viewing it all as the management fad of the month. Be prepared to make some adjustments as you engage these internal influencers. It may cause a few hiccups in the effort, but it will lead to deeper adoption across the organization.

Your purpose is one of the most powerful assets your organization has. Yet, too many organizations fail to connect it to what they say and do. And they miss a huge opportunity. Because that purpose will transform your ability to hire and retain the best candidates. It will change the depth at which you connect with customers and prospects, building engagements and strengthening loyalty. That’s the stuff that every organization hopes to unleash. Imagine telling a story that does that.

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 — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

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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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