Live From the Global Purpose Summit

I recently had the opportunity to attend the first Global Purpose Summit hosted by BrightHouse. The meaning of “purpose” is to have a mission that is clearly dedicated to helping brands identify their messaging or their story.

Joey Reiman, CEO of BrightHouse, shared the story of “purpose” as the guiding force to help brands relay their messaging correctly for internal and external audiences. Joey also stressed “a focus on the core,” which will leave your messaging timeless and powerful.

The tips shared by the speakers at the Global Purpose Summit provided many business pointers, and also many different ways that brands can be heard and felt. I personally feel that there is a lot of value in assigning these same principles to a company’s social media programs.

Our star-studded panel of speakers included: Jay Gould, president and CEO of American Standard Brands; Mark Ketchum, board member at Kraft Foods and former president and CEO of Newell Rubbermaid; Stuart Kronauge, SVP at Coca-Cola Brands; and Elizabeth Nientimp, director of brand design at General Mills (aka the Cereal Lady). (Google American Standard Brands, if you do not know what it is – it will tell you about the importance of branding!)

Our moderator for the panel was Josh Levs, an award-winning broadcast journalist from CNN. Here are some of the key quotes from the panel for us to consider:

Your brand message needs to be clear on social media. General Mills’ theme is about “nourishing,” Coke is about “refreshing,” American Standard is about “cleanliness,” and Newell Rubbermaid is about “understanding” the person using their products.

Businesses need to think about the brand message and ensure that they are able to communicate this via social media. You need to remind consumers about the relationship to your product. Elizabeth said it well, “and if you have purpose, you shouldn’t have to shout it out.” It does not help a brand to keep putting out updates on offers, as it turns customers off.

Stuart said they do not want their employees to think, “I just work in an office supply store.” They need a sense of purpose and the ability to communicate that sense of purpose. The key to success is to make sure that your “sense of purpose” is understood by your employees, as they will help carry your brand messaging through to your consumers.

Jay’s plain talk was poignant when he said that when you link your business to purpose, the numbers will follow. “When your company has strong culture, then all follows! Value is created by a strong culture.”

Mark Ketchum spoke about brands using social media as a way to research what their consumers are doing and then leveraging that information into their messaging. His simple pointers on social media were an eye-opener to many about leveraging these user communities.

There was a lot of discussion about “being open” with employees and this made me think about the businesses that create a mission statement for their social endeavors without really involving their own people. It is important for brands to identify what they stand for and share this openly via different forms of media (including social media).

Rilla Delorier, the CMO of SunTrust Bank, spoke about marrying business with purpose and also showed people that it can be used to drive commercial value. SunTrust started a social media initiative that it named “Live Solid,” which has turned out to be a great way to connect and share messaging with the bank’s consumers. Take a look at the videos from SunTrust’s YouTube page. It has the short version and the longer, behind-the-scenes version – a very good way to carry forth your message to your consumer.

Josh Levs shared a few tips from an article published on CNN about ways to grow a business. Three of his five tips on growth include:

  1. Having a social purpose
  2. Investing in employees
  3. Acting as a role model

Again, these are things that can be articulated very well via social media. Think about your cause and what you can do to incorporate cause into your marketing mix year-round.

Our closing speaker was indeed the surprise that was going to blow us away. Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, shared his grandfather’s vision about “purpose.” He talked about how digital media and social media have opened the window for us to look at people all over the world. He told us to, “Be authentic, invest in your people, and let this sense of purpose drive how you communicate with your consumers.”

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