The Power of Being Stubborn Around a Single “Beacon” Idea


George Tannenbaum is a noted advertising copywriter and prolific blogger.

In his wry, and often acerbic way, George chronicles the tension of being a creative thinker in the world of business.

In a post, he recounted the experience of being at a client’s annual shoot for a celebrity TV spot.

Anxiety is the king of such events, and George talks about the problem of working with inexperienced and politically-driven executives who do nothing but worry and create chaos.

He offers this advice to people who want to remain cool, collected, and purposeful in such an environment:

“Never under­es­ti­mate the power of stub­born­ness. Take a step away from the words and pic­tures you’re cre­at­ing and derive a sin­gle sen­tence that encap­su­lates what you are striv­ing to accom­plish. A sin­gle short sen­tence. Stick to that sen­tence as a bea­con through every­thing you do. Make com­pro­mis­es about details if you must. But stick to that sen­tence. Keep com­ing back to it, keep it alive. That sen­tence is your work. “

Advice that works at every level

If you simply substitute George’s phrase “the words and pictures you’re creating” with “the business you run”, you’ll see the true value of this form of stubbornness.

What single sentence encapsulates what your business is trying accomplish, beyond only making a profit?

How would you lead your people differently if you could always turn to that “beacon” sentence, that inspiring and purposeful thought, that meaningful ambition, whenever things get tough, whenever there’s a deadlock, or whenever there’s a need to refocus and realign your organization?

How would your business work if everyone in it also turned to that same sentence whenever they were designing products or services, managing their direct reports, meeting with customers, convincing investors, or negotiating with suppliers or partners?

What if each of your employees woke up each morning eager to make that sentence a reality for themselves, their peers, their customers, your business, and society?

Finally, what if that single sentence helped make everything your business does resonate in meaningful ways with your customers and prospects, so that more and more people did business with you, rather than going elsewhere?

Make that single sentence a purposeful brand promise.

Phrase it in simple, human, approachable, and aspirational language to which everyone can relate.

Inject it into your culture. Inject your values. Inject emotion.

Indeed, make it the basis of an evolved culture for your business that is based on meaning.

Make it your work.

Be stubborn.

And be a business that matters.

For more on the subject of creating a brand promise click here.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy firm.


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