One of the most important goals of a brand is to drive growth. Focusing a start-up on carving out market share. Positioning a fast-growing tech company to lead its category. Providing a foundation for product or portfolio innovation as a company seeks to reach new audiences. Or helping a global corporation expand its footprint into new geographies. Whatever your aim, brand can accelerate results.
But one of the biggest (missed) brand opportunities is engaging individuals in your organization to see their role in creating the future. When growth is a generic goal, people can assume that someone else is leading it. Disconnected from purpose or vision, growth can feel like a performance driver that serves only the goals of stakeholders. For companies to grow sustainably, positively, and strategically, people in the organization need to feel excited about what growth brings.
The key to framing growth for your organization is making sure people see business as a process, not an entity. No matter where you are on a growth trajectory, success depends on behaving more like an organism than an organization—continually adapting to changes in the marketplace, the industry, the economy, and the culture. But when change and uncertainty prevail, most businesses are poorly equipped to communicate this distinction to their employees. Conventional objective-setting tools tend to be reactive rather than responsive. And typical brand building blocks tend to define what’s come before rather than guide people to consider what lies ahead.
A new approach for engagement
Emotive has a different approach to helping businesses fulfill their greatest ambitions. Growth is the goal. Emotion is the strategy.
When clients need to realize important outcomes, we work side-by-side with executive leaders to co-author a strategic narrative of how—and why—they want to grow. We call this a Growth Manifesto, and it serves as a powerful tool for cutting through the noise of function-specific goals, objectives, KPIs, and OKRs to make business and brand more emotionally relevant to the people in an organization. It connects major initiatives—corporate strategy, product, go-to-market, brand, people & culture—in a single, coherent narrative that aligns everyone behind the promise of the brand and the actions required to support it.
Why create a strategic narrative?
Because narratives are fundamental to how human beings share meaning. Stories have the power to move and transform people both intellectually and emotionally. Unlike a traditional plot line—which tends to be self-contained with a beginning, a middle, and an end—this narrative is open-ended. It asks people to see themselves in the situation. It calls on them to imagine what they can do to pursue a higher purpose. It gets people into action by helping them understand the role they need to play on the journey ahead.
Why do you need a Growth Manifesto when you have a business and brand strategy?
How often does your organization engage in substantive dialogue about what lies ahead? Our experience is that growth conversations begin in past actions, which can be limited by strategies that communicate what you already know—or what you’ve already got—rather than how you intend to do business tomorrow. We also see many organizations that undermine success by planning in silos, despite their best efforts at cross-functional thinking. (Can a marketing team develop an effective go-to-market plan in isolation from the deep thinking poured into a product roadmap? Nope. But it happens all the time.) And a “set-it-and-forget-it” mindset often tanks the desired effect of corporate mission, vision, and values statements.
The Growth Manifesto does three important things:
- It establishes a clear point of view that will influence, guide, and help create your organization’s future. This isn’t a PR exercise. This strategic narrative will have an impact only if it’s deeply felt and true to your business culture. It requires expanding your perspective beyond the products or services you offer, connecting your brand to the broader context of your customers’ lives and to their aspirations.
- It ties everything together. All businesses, whether big or small, have multiple critical initiatives going on at any given moment. If the narrative about how they connect is haphazard or unintentional, people will start quilting their own. The result is multiple, individual narratives in pursuit of different end states—in other words, brand confusion.
- It creates structure, not stricture. For employees to be truly invested, your narrative must invite some level of co-creation and adaptive thinking. You must give everyone the tools and direction they require to do their jobs well, without being so prescriptive as to limit their tactical freedom to execute. You must ask every employee to use their imagination as they help build and reinforce your brand.
The Growth Manifesto isn’t meant as a one-and-done alignment activity. It’s an integrative tool that sets a deliberate direction for your business at a given moment. It’s intentionally designed to flex in response to change. To be revisited and updated over time. To adapt in the same way that your business must adapt to the world.
We know that as competition intensifies and companies experience mounting performance pressure, time horizons tend to shrink and most organizations adopt tunnel vision to focus on their most immediate needs and concerns. The Growth Manifesto allows everyone across your business to keep their heads up, with eyes fixed on the horizon, holding both near-term and long-term goals in clear view. More than just selling products, or seeking this quarter’s profitability, a clear strategic narrative gives people the ability to see, believe and participate in creating a future that they know is not only possible but necessary.