Storytelling for the Purpose Revolution

Nearly 20 years ago, Junxion pioneered an approach to values-based branding that’s now being used by social ventures and nonprofits on four continents. It starts by defining brand more broadly—as the public face of strategy.

Your brand is a powerful tool of engagement for stakeholders inside and outside your organization. And it’s stakeholders you need to engage—your customers, your staff, vendors, investors, and partners. Each of them will have a say in your success, so make them all a part of your story.

Including stakeholders in the story of your growing brand drives engagement and support—and that in turn inspires action. Whether you’re enticing donors to give to your cause or encouraging customers to choose you for the products and services they need, you must first be in conversation with them. This is the essence of marketing in the 21st century—but it’s also a crowded, busy world….

How will you stand apart?

Openness inspires trust. Trust ignites engagement.

As in any relationship, transparency and vulnerability inspire trust, setting the tone for healthy, productive engagement. The more open you can be in your leadership, the more trust you’ll build. This is why our approach to values-based branding is called ‘TrustBrand.’ Here are four more ways to build a standout brand:

  • Authenticity: Consistently demonstrate adherence to stated values.
  • Value: Improve the lives of customers, staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Inspiration: Give stakeholders the opportunity to be part of something bigger.
  • Distinctive: Build a unique ability to meet important customer needs.

Three Ways to Activate Your Social Purpose Brand

Leaders of the next economy—the ambitious sorts of leaders who tend to engage Junxion—build brands that do three important things….

Put Your Values to Work. We can understand values conceptually (as many organizations do), but we experience them emotionally, and stories are the language of emotion. Shared stories, then, are the building blocks of culture. Curate stories that speak to your organization’s values.

Shift from ‘Marketing Messages’ to ‘Shared Stories.’ Think of your brand as the expectation of an experience. When you promote yourself with traditional marketing, are you pushing out information or inviting people into conversation? Bigger, shared stories and overarching social narratives can be more powerful ways to engage stakeholders than focusing on ‘key messages’ and ‘calls to action.’

Authentic stories include stakeholders.

Take Smart Risks on Strategy. Our strongest instinct in brand storytelling is for control—of the message, the medium, the timing…. Is it ‘on brand?!’ But this ‘manufactured image’ sits in tension with being transparent and vulnerable! Instead, unite a sound, evidence-based approach to sharing your purpose with a meaningful, overall narrative that includes your stakeholders.

How will you inspire trust and support from the stakeholders around you? What makes you invaluable to your communities? What is your unique ability to meet important customer needs?

At Junxion, we work with leaders of organizations who want to change, who are courageously facing the vast challenges of the day, and creating organizations that will survive and thrive in the next economy?

Does this sound like you?

Let’s be audacious, together….

 

Mike Rowlands is President & CEO at Junxion. He’s been building brands since the 1990s—always with a view to inspiring trust, upholding shared values, and leading change. Reach him via [email protected].

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