Customers Come First! (Or do they?)

Recently I was at an event where a panelist declared the age of the customer to be “over,” favouring an employee-centric culture, because, “if your employees are happy, your customers will be happy.” It felt like a classic chicken and egg scenario: what comes first, your employees or your customers? Sure, people work with people, and if customers are interacting …

Urdang Academy | Leading UK Performing Arts School

Founded in 1970, Urdang Academy was established as a response to the lack of diversity in ballet. The academy is now one of the UK’s leading performing arts colleges with a deserved reputation for its inclusive approach and its high-quality training for a career in musical theatre and dance. The school is unique in its approach to breaking down cultural …

TrustBrand™ | Purpose: Putting Meaning to Work

There is a vast gulf growing between younger generations, who want genuine purpose in their work, and older generations (their bosses), who are more likely to define purpose as profitability. This sense of higher purpose is being crystallized as a new cultural value, and can present a profound and durable competitive advantage. This generational gulf was the central finding of …

TrustBrand™ | Distinction: The Art of Building a Relevant Standout

It’s a truism of marketing, because it’s taught in the first classes of the first courses on marketing in nearly every undergraduate business program: differentiate or die. Trouble is, it doesn’t work. Sure, it’s important for you to build a brand that stands apart from your competitors. If you aren’t different, you are by definition a commodity, and subject to …

Nordea | Growing the Social Role of Financial Services

It’s always a good idea, although sometimes difficult, to have something interesting to say when you launch your latest sustainability report. Our client Nordea Bank didn’t settle for “interesting”—they raised the bar to “inspiring” levels by launching an ambitious sustainability strategy with their 2015 sustainability report. Nordea is the Nordic region’s largest bank with over 10 million customers. They hold leading …

TrustBrand™ | Inspiration: Four Ways to Make Your Story More Compelling

There are two ways to persuade people: Intellectual appeal through rhetoric, and emotional appeal through the power of story. The trouble with rhetoric alone is that people have their own facts: They tend to believe what they already know. So inspiration—the ability to engage people at an emotional level—is vital to the success of any social change brand. Think about …

TrustBrand™ | Authenticity & The Power of Values

“Fake it ‘til ya make it.” You’ve heard it before—the old advice doled out to nervous entrepreneurs, early career leaders, or executives with ‘imposter’s syndrome.’ It’s the professional equivalent of a childhood pat on the head: “Keep at it, honey. You can do it.” The idea seems simple: if you act for long enough like you’re creative, confident, and leading …