We all know best practice and the best brands are driven by a higher human purpose, but for most of us the very real commercial goals we have to meet can often get in the way.
So, we asked marketing and communication people if they’d kindly tell us their secret purpose. We were after that sweet spot connecting real, personal, goals with those of the business and brand. The stuff you often don’t get the opportunity to tell people. We got some great responses. As one person put it, brand building is best when it’s personal which is why we wrote our three stage practical guide: Harness your secret purpose, build your brand and grow your business. This is what some of you told us:
Making superheroes of the team: I want to make my difference count. And I mean really count; not just on the end-of-month reports but in the way that people look at what we do and think “wow, this stuff really is phenomenal!” And I want my team to feel like they can wear their superhero outfits on the outside because they’re the ones delivering awesome to our business. And by day, I’ll continue to fill in the business’ spreadsheets and file the paperwork. That way, no-one will know our true mission…
Authenticity personified: I’m thinking about my own personal brand and how it will translate into the digital world. My secret purpose is to ensure I get it right, remain authentic to my personality but don’t come across as too narcissistic and ‘look at me’. The exercise is painful as I’ve recently watched a ‘car crash’ of someone asking their followers questions like ‘What words would you use to describe me?’. Cringeworthy and hilarious all at the same time.
A belief in great design: Always trying to frame parts e.g. ‘elements’ and ‘aspects’ and in terms of some sort of organising whole – not because everything is naturally ordered that way (according to some sort underlying and predetermined form) but because I believe that thinking in terms of connections and relatedness often makes the difference between mediocre and great design.
A focus on value: We spend a lot of time and energy at work and often the outcome or value is never defined, considered, captured or is just wasted. My mission is to make everything I choose to do count, mostly in bringing and communicating greater value to our customers.
A higher purpose: My goal this month is to persuade my boss that we should do something to support the Shark Trust or something similar. Something that does good for this tortured planet. We’re an IT business and we’re doing very well but I’d sleep a little better at night if we gave just a little bit of our profit back to a good cause. I even think our clients would be up for it.
Very present: I have my bubble, it’s my way of surviving it all. I love the work and I take pride in doing a great job so my secret purpose is the project I’m focused on each and every day. I lock out everything else that is going on around me.
Seeing it from the external perspective: There are so many people here producing so much in terms of communciation. There’s not a single red thread running through it though. I’d feel like I’d achieved something if I could make it all hang together. My role gives me the remit to do this but I’ve found I have to be a bit discreet – otherwise people can get defensive or feel like all their motivation is gone.
An axe to grind: Last year, they let me develop a whole campaign here in my local market before they let on that they’d produced a new global campaign. This year I’m having my revenge because global just don’t do anything for this brand. (PS we recommended a consensus building exercise)
We’re in love with this person: I’m not so motivated by the commercial part of the business. These products aren’t so different really from the competition but I was a healthcare professional before and I’d like to use this role to do something more for the people I took care of. Also, I really like the team here and I want us to all succeed.
A big thanks to everyone for such superb insights. If you enjoyed this, you’ll enjoy: Harness your secret purpose, build your brand and grow your business. This pragmatic guide contains proprietary tools and thinking but can be accessed by simply entering a name and email address. We’d love to get your feedback.