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Why Every CEO Should Pursue a Purpose Beyond Profit

Why Every CEO Should Pursue a Purpose Beyond Profit

It’s textbook management practice to formalize a company’s “mission, vision and values.” And while these are important steps in helping form a direction and way of being for a company, many CEOs are nonetheless challenged with a litany of business issues: Unengaged employees An inability to attract the new talent needed Customer defection Lack of marketplace differentiation Dissatisfied shareholders This list goes on and on, doesn’t it? Behind each of these business challenges is a big question: How can my business matter more to people? When your business truly...
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How Global Enterprise Tech Companies Can Re-brand

How Global Enterprise Tech Companies Can Re-brand

In the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s impossible to escape the blinding pace of technology. Ideas, innovations, and companies emerge like skyrockets, lighting up the sky and sometimes the world. We’re used to the speed because we live here, and because many of our clients are start-ups. We build meaningful brands to guide their stratospheric growth. Then there are companies that have been around for a while. Venerable tech brands that have stood the test of time. Some dating back to the days when Silicon Valley was populated not by software geeks on corporate campuses, but by apricot and prune...
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Are We in the Age of Meaning?

Are We in the Age of Meaning?

In our white paper, The Age Of Meaning, we explore the challenges and opportunities this new era presents to business and brand strategy. Referring to economist Umair Haque’s contention that we’ve left the “age of opulence” – a time of hyper-consumerism based on the mantra of “bigger, faster, cheaper, now” – we make the point that the age of meaning didn’t suddenly appear. There was no “Breaking News” story, no Twitter trending topic, and no planned downtime for a total system upgrade. It crept up on us, through current events...
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Culture Shock – Will McInnes Envisions Truly Meaningful Work

Culture Shock – Will McInnes Envisions Truly Meaningful Work

The power of meaningful work is  topic we have been writing on for years. When Culture Shock was released, we were more than intrigued. Culture Shock: A Handbook for 21st Century Business is a fascinating read from Will McInnes. McInnes provides an insightful and helpful guide to leaders who are challenged by today’s turbulent environment. Exploring the concept of the “social business”, he covers a breadth of topics relevant to leadership in the 21st Century, including “purpose and meaning”, “conscious leadership”, “change velocity”, and...
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Preparing for Transformation

Preparing for Transformation

One of the big themes for business is constant change — transformation. With globalization making markets more volatile and cross-border financial flows making bondholders and investors more powerful, companies have to keep evolving to keep up. So they change their business model or their brand strategy. If they keep doing the old things, they do them in new ways. Or they do entirely new things in ways that haven’t been invented yet. For our parents, IBM was a computer company. For us, it’s a consulting company. Time Warner was a media company; now it’s a content company after selling...
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What is Emotive Design?

What is Emotive Design?

Emotive design is a component of emotive branding that engages people in a focused way that strives to evoke the specific feelings the brand seeks to own. Using color, lines, shape, form, texture, light – and nothingness – designers create both passive and interactive experiences that resonant with the brand’s emotional space. Emotive design is not overtly emotional design. Operating at a subtle and subconscious level, these design cues work to reinforce and enhance other dimensions of the way people interact with the brand. From the highly tangible experience of using a product to the...
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Leadership Is What Leadership Means

Leadership Is What Leadership Means

Gianpiero Petriglieri is Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD, a regular contributor to the HBR blog, and a prolific and insightful tweeter. Indeed, the title of this post is taken from one of his recent tweets promoting his latest piece on HBR, “There is no shortage of leaders.” Professor Petriglieri’s main point is that the methods and goals of leadership are misplaced.  He suggests that the current narrow view of leadership development and practice is falling short of what’s needed in today’s world. “There is no shortage of leadership at all.” “There are plenty of...
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Meaningful Leaders                                     Resolution #1 for 2015

Meaningful Leaders Resolution #1 for 2015

Lead by proudly, confidently and passionately proclaiming a new destination for your customers, your employees and your business. Going beyond profit, declare your intention to do well by doing good. Give everyone the answer to their burning question, “Why?”. Why does your business exist? Why is that good? Why does that matter? Interested in learning more about how to create your Purpose Beyond...
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The Purpose-Pivot

The Purpose-Pivot

Why smart brands are adding meaningful metrics We recently came across a Huffington Post article, “Meaning is the new money,” that posits the notion of the  purpose-pivot.  According to the author, Blanca Rothschild, the term is a combination of “pivot” (being capable of turning around fast based on new knowledge, from Eric Ries’s book “Lean Startup”), and “purpose” (working to an ambition that transcends the goal of making a profit). In summary, a purpose-pivot is an idea that is “applied in a multi-dimensional way across all stakeholders, and involves redesigning HOW we succeed to include...
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Brand Strategies That Change Capitalism for the Better

Brand Strategies That Change Capitalism for the Better

According to philosopher Alain de Botton, Facebook thrives because it taps into an overlooked and underserved human need: the desire to have better relationships. So says a TechCrunch article recapping a recent speech he gave on the virtues of modern business. TechCrunch correspondent Natasha Lomas summed up the Facebook story this way: “Whether Facebook is actually serving that need well is a whole other question, but the appetite it taps into is undeniable. And de Botton argues that other core human needs continue to be drastically underserved by the modern business community — providing a...
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Purpose-Driven Business

Purpose-Driven Business

McKinsey’s Vision of Businesses as Problem Solvers We recently came across an older and rather interesting article from McKinsey that speaks to the imperative of business to become increasingly purpose-driven. The article starts with the words, “Capitalism is under attack.” It then offers new definitions for prosperity, growth, government, and capitalism itself: a conscious capitalism. Then it goes on to explain what business needs to do: “We believe that a reorientation toward seeing businesses as society’s problem solvers rather than simply as vehicles for creating shareholder...
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Bridging the Meaning Gap

Bridging the Meaning Gap

A great post by Tom Fishburne talks about the risks of going too far in your efforts to matter to people. He cites the example of the “Dove Campaign For Real Beauty”, a notable example of a meaningful brand presence, which started as a concept many steps up the brand ladder. When those “too grandiose” ideas were shot down by real people (formerly known as consumers), the focus turned to building meaning from the product up. The lesson: in your pursuit to bridge the meaning gap, and to create more meaning around your business, product, service or brand (a smart thing...
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Gaining Customer Trust Through Both Experienced and Sensed Empathy

Gaining Customer Trust Through Both Experienced and Sensed Empathy

Barclay’s Bank wanted to create a more empathetic understanding of customers with mobility issues. In this video, a Barclay’s office manager is outfitted with a special suit designed to recreate the physical world of his own elderly Mother. The suit includes weights that make it hard for the manager to take steps, or to raise his hands. Goggles dim his vision and cast a yellow light over the scene. Headphones distort his hearing. Electric sensors make him feel the pain of arthritis in his joints. In this way, the manager literally “walks in the shoes” of his mother – and every other...
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Purpose-led Business Leaders Gain Competitive Advantage

Purpose-led Business Leaders Gain Competitive Advantage

We recently came across this Fast Company article about purpose-led business leaders who are changing the way business works by embracing purpose. Here we recap its main points, and add additional perspective. Generation Flux is a group defined less by age than by attitude. According to the article’s author, Robert Safian, Generation Flux “refers to the group of people best positioned to thrive in today’s era of high-velocity change.” Safian continues, “Fluxers are defined not by their chronological age but by their willingness and ability to adapt. These are the people who are...
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Winning Leaders Change the Conversation

Winning Leaders Change the Conversation

We recently came across an interview with Lee Clow, who has been responsible for a slew of famous ad campaigns, including the landmark 1984 Apple commercial. In the interview he talks about how he now describes his role: “Finding a voice as a tone for a brand is the art of what I do. I want to consider myself now as a media artist, not an advertising person, because advertising is kind of defined these days and has a negative stigma attached to it. But to be a media artist is to take a brand and find its voice and tell its story and make it interesting and likeable. I think brands are...
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