As marketers, we routinely obsess over the customer journey and how to measure “intent to purchase.” We know too that we do our best work when we’re facilitating micro conversions between a brand and a consumer that are naturally a good fit, rather than forcing a product on an exasperated audience.
We understand intuitively that relationship building, alignment, and value are essential to our vocation.
But how often do we truly lead with purpose and intention, rather than simply deploying tactics? How often do we, as Lisa eloquently puts it, make meaning instead of messaging?
In my work with major brands such as Chase, Adobe, and Forbes, what I’ve noticed consistently is that the campaigns that are most clearly tied to a brand’s “why,” and well-attuned to its audience’s needs are the ones that break through the noise and deliver real results.
Former Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly goes so far as to credit purpose as the winning move that enabled him to rescue the company from going under, and reassert its relevance in the digital age.
At Twin Cities Business’ annual Person of the Year event, he summed it up eloquently.
“We’re not a retailer, we’re not in the business of selling TVs— even though, if you want to, we can sell you a few [laughs]—we’re really in the business of enriching lives through technology by investing in people… It’s a very human company that’s focused on addressing the needs of all our stakeholders. So, one of the visions I have is that the purpose of the company is not to make money. There’s a difference between what’s necessary and what is the purpose.
Best Buy is not an outlier. Brands like Patagonia, Zappos, Disney, Dove and countless others are reorienting to a more purpose-driven mode of operation, one in which intentions do the powerful work of translating purpose into action in any given moment, interaction or work product.
So how to become an intentional marketer led by purpose?
- Reject growth for growth’s sake and become crystal clear about the specific desired outcome.
The first step requires you to engage your imagination.
What experience are you trying to create with any given campaign, creative or product? What feelings are you hoping to inspire? What responses and actions are you working to evoke?
- Invite collaboration and foster a shared vision of success.
Make the time to align with your team on your collective intention. We often take for granted that we share a vision of success, when more often than not, individuals are either feeling disengaged or uncertain about the outcome. As you clarify the desired goal, identify personal incentives and developmental milestones that provide meaning.
“If we achieve this, it will be my first time to….”
“If we achieve this, as a team, we’ll then be able to…”
- To quote a marketing genius, rinse and repeat.
The greatest mistake we make when embarking on journeys of purpose and intention setting is to presume that we can do the work and then go back to business as usual. Intentionality is an ongoing practice, and as it becomes part of a company’s culture, it shifts from being a novelty to being the norm.
If embraced as an ethos, intentional marketing can become an uplifting and illuminating process. It delivers clarity, creates engagement and fuels progress—qualities we need during these difficult economic and socio-political times.
About Sofiya Deva
Sofiya is a writer, consultant and social entrepreneur. Sofiya is COO of Warm Robots, a cultural consultancy and storytelling agency, and founder of This Same Sky, a social enterprise. She coaches brands, choreographs high impact campaigns, and believes that business can be a force for good. She’s been featured in CMO, Dallas Business Journal, Forbes, and Thrive Global.