We use the word success to describe the outcome of our efforts. It’s how we have been conditioned. We measure the impact we have by it. Did we achieve success?
There is nothing wrong with success as a measure. It just doesn’t capture everything that our brand can accomplish.
Reorienting the brand
In the for-profit world, success is associated with financial gain. Unfortunately, it is too often the sole definition.
Here’s the problem with that. Financial gain is a very inward-focused measurement. That can lead to us putting our needs ahead of those we hope to serve. When that happens, we may achieve success in the short term. But it is unlikely that we will sustain that success.
An extreme example is the payday lender. It may reach its goals of financial success. But all too often, that’s accomplished by trapping its customers in a cycle of debt. So is the payday lender achieving success? Within the narrow definition of financial gain, you would say yes. But step back and take a broader look. The payday lender is under constant threat of regulation and is relentlessly demonized by society. It is a business that relies on the misfortune of others. When we consider all that, we have a harder time believing it has achieved success.
We need something better. Something that doesn’t limit our outcomes to simply financial gains. We need to change our desired outcome from success to prosperity.
Prosperity broadens the outcome. Financial success is part of it (it’s not at the expense of this success). But it goes beyond the inward focus of financial success to include the wellbeing of those you hope to serve. The wellbeing of everyone.
When a brand embraces that, it becomes exceptionally desirable to those it hopes to engage. We all like the idea of feeling like our purchases are helping to do more than buy us goods and services. We find ourselves drawn to companies that can help us feel like our dollars are helping improve things for those around us. Whether it’s for a neighbor, the community, or even the world.
Making prosperity the aim
Before we begin any brand effort, we should evolve our brand strategy. Rather than simply asking, “What’s in it for our prospects?”, we should ask, “What difference can we make?” and “How can we invite those we hope to serve to help us amplify the prosperity we seek to nurture?”
When we begin to talk this way about the intent of our brand, the transformation begins. The transformation of a brand that fights for market share into one that magnetically draws in avid and loyal advocates. Because we’re no longer talking about the limited gains of success. We’re talking about the ever-expanding opportunity that comes from embracing prosperity as our outcome.
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.
Originally published at https://www.dansalva.com on February 13, 2020.