“Purpose offers up a host of benefits, including easier decision marking, deeper employee and customer engagement, and ultimately, more personal fulfillment and happiness.”
-Roy M. Spence Jr.
I’ve been pushing the book, “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek to every small business I’ve come across over the past three years. It’s one of my favorites, but I’m adding another book to my recommended reading list – “It’s Not What you Sell, It’s What You Stand For” by Roy M. Spence, Jr. and Haley Rushing. Roy is the co-founder and chairman of GSD&M, a full-service advertising agency in Austin, TX, and co-founder and CEO of the Purpose Institute, which helps leaders and organizations discover, articulate and align all stakeholders around a genuine and authentic purpose.
To paraphrase, why you do what you do, what you believe and your company’s purpose has the power to create a movement, build a stronger emotional bond with customers and employees, and aligns the business to a higher mission.
It also plays a key role in decision making. “Purpose drives everything… If a move is relevant to their purpose, they make it. If not, they don’t.”
In my experience, too many companies focus on building a better mousetrap and talk about what they do and how they do it (product features or their resume) without articulating why they’re in business in the first place. I wrote a blog post earlier this year focusing on some of the companies I think do a great job of articulating why they exist and why I’d work with them in a heartbeat.
Here’s what I particularly like about “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For.” First, there are some real learning lessons in the book. It isn’t just self promotional – just ask how awesome we are and we’ll tell you. Roy shares some painful lessons with some of the biggest personalities and brands in the world – Southwest, John Deere, Walmart, etc. Second, there are some practical exercises to determine your purpose and the last couple chapters focus on specific companies and showcase practical marketing executions that pay off the purpose – bus stop banners, advertisements, customer and employee facing manifestos, etc. Finally, there’s a great chapter on purpose statements, including specific client examples on page 52. What’s interesting is that each purpose statement has a strong active verb attached to it – give, save, defy, enable, defend, champion, build, transform, develop, etc.
While you may not have the budget for a large scale marketing effort, I recommend applying the book’s key learnings and scaling down the ideas for use in your social media campaigns. And who knows, if you have a strong enough purpose, you may grow faster than you think.
Does your company have a strong purpose?