In a recent post this past spring, I shared my thoughts for graduating seniors. Hopeful that this next generation of leaders will be inspired by the growing wave of purposeful professionals. In that post, I encouraged them to use their voice to help companies pursue purpose over profit alone.
I’m also seeing that companies too are looking for their voice. Whether it’s thought leadership, cause-marketing campaigns or social reform, businesses are searching for ways to differentiate themselves, disrupt the marketplace and/or drive a more purposeful conversation.
As I suggested to graduates, it starts with a small voice in a few select areas, then it grows. Working as a consultant with different small- and mid-sized companies and having spent time researching brand purpose, I found three foundational elements to building a voice in the marketplace.
A passionate leader: I’ve encountered this first-hand throughout my career in PR and marketing. Campaigns, thought-leadership programs and messaging directed from the top are consistently more successful. Leaders who bring passion, authenticity and a genuine interest are more engaging, more compelling and more willing to prioritize the program.
Brand purpose: A company must have an authentic brand purpose from which to build. Brand purpose combines why you exists with what differentiates you from others. But more importantly it helps define your position, gives credibility to your perspective, and offers guidance for non-promotional subject matter.
Self-Awareness: Research is foundational for any campaign or program. It provides an awareness of what is happening around you. Before launching any type of content or thought-leadership program, arm yourself or your executives with good, credible information. This will allow you to speak from a place of knowledge, accuracy and most importantly self-awareness.
It takes time, resources and a willingness to bring a new voice to the conversation. However, just as I am encouraged by the wave of graduates bringing a new voice to purposeful business, I am equally encouraged by businesses raising their voices to support purpose outside of profit alone.