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3 Step Brand Makeover: Make Purpose Your Brand

by John Izzo, PhD. and Jeff Vanderwielen, PhD., co-authors of “The Purpose Revolution: How Leaders Create Engagement and Competitive Advantage in an Age of Social Good

Today’s professionals and entrepreneurs are agile. You are experts in multi-tasking and are willing to take on multiple roles within an organization. Perhaps you’ve run out of time for a formal marketing campaign, so let’s just get started with a 3 step brand makeover.

Here’s the essence of branding. After name and logo, the biggest part of branding that people see is how you act every day and how you talk about your products and services to customers and potential customers.  Most businesses don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about how to live the brand and how to be help others become absolute positive ambassador for it. What you need to do is start branding from the inside out.

You could dump money into advertising, but research shows that customers only believe about 16% of what they are told. Advertising mostly serves to create an expectation in the minds of your customers. Customers don’t listen to advertisers but recent studies show 63% of people believe what employees say about a product! We are also up to ten times more likely to share a social media feed about a company shared by an employee then we are one from the company.

So here are three ways to create great brand ambassadors in three steps with tips from our forthcoming book “The Purpose Revolution: How Leaders Create Engagement and Competitive Advantage in an Age of Social Good“:

1. Make purpose your brand.

First, you need to get clear on what your brand really is. Customers and employees today want to connect to brands that have a purpose. Over 80% of global customers say that buying from a company they feel is doing good matters to them and about 34% are regularly punishing and rewarding companies based on their perception of their purpose. In the case of employees over 77% say working for a company they believe in matters to them with about 37% of the global workforce are purpose driven.

We call this the Age of Social Good. So, the first question is whether your brand and brand promise focus on purpose. Take whatever it is you are passionate about, and make that your unique purpose. At Hewlett-Packard, the company’s goals, values and objectives are boiled down to a series to statements they call “The HP Way”, and these form the basis for a positive work environment based on rewarding excellent performance and furthering a long history of philanthropy and environmental sustainability. They know which values they want to convey, and they do it well. At companies like Unilever, their brands that have created a purpose connection with customers and employees (brands like Dove and Ben & Jerry’s) are growing 35% faster than their other brands.

2. Focus on purpose before profit.

When people see their job as a calling, they are more engaged, more committed, and simply perform better. Profits are not a purpose, they are a reward for living a purpose that has a positive impact on others! How often do you talk about your true purpose to serve and make things better? How often do you highlight the real difference you make for customers through stories? And in moments of truth do you demonstrate that you really are focused on purpose not profits?

Steve Jobs was passionate about technology and the early Apple mission statement was to make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind. Steve was never concerned about immediate profit but intensely focused on making great products. By being of service first, he knew profits were a result of serving — not the other way around.  You won’t truly be an ambassador for your brand unless you truly connect to your purpose first.

3. Ask your employees, friends and family to be ambassadors.

Word of mouth is powerful in the age of social media, so why not ask your people to be your ambassadors? We are amazed how many owners NEVER directly ask their people to be ambassadors for the brand everywhere- at parties, traveling on holidays, talking with strangers in a lineup. Start by honestly asking your inner circle whether they like how you deliver your product or service and whether they can see your purpose being lived?  You should be listening to what it is they like about what you do, and paying particular attention to what would make you better. Then take action so that they will be proud ambassadors for your brand.

Today’s employees, customers and investors are seeking brands that focus on purpose. The only question is whether you company is seen as focused on purpose-on the real difference you are making in the world.


John Izzo is co-author of The Purpose Revolution and president of Izzo Associates. He has spoken to over one million people and advised over 500 companies, including IBM, Qantas, the Mayo Clinic, Verizon, RBC, TELUS, Microsoft, and IBM. He sits on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Brands and is the author or coauthor of six books, including “Awakening Corporate Soul” and “The Five Thieves of Happiness“.

Jeff Vanderwielen is co-author of The Purpose Revolution and vice president of consulting at Izzo Associates and a former senior change consultant at Ernst & Young with 20-plus years of experience helping organizations manage large-scale change and articulate a compelling purpose – their core good – as the organizing center for their vision, strategy, and culture.


This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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