“Purpose-Idea” vs brand-speak

Hugh has a nice post about Mark Earls’ “Purpose-Idea”. Regular readers of this space should know that I’m a big fan of Mark… his latest book Herd is required reading IMHO.

Frankly, the brand BS floating around in a lot of organizations feels a lot like someone recently discovered that brand is the new ‘mission-vision-values’. Another excuse for strategic planning that never gets out of the room and endless meetings with posturing assholes using brand buzzwords they don’t understand.

Some of the questions that need answering are: What gets you out of bed in the morning? What is your point of view, really? What dent do you want to make in this world? Your industry? Your market? And how do you and your organization connect with others who share this purpose in order to move forward together?

Hugh’s Blue Monster cartoon says “Microsoft: Change the world or go home.” He contrasts this to the Microsoft tagline “Your Potential, Our Passion” which, I think, illustrates the differences between ‘Brand’ and ‘Purpose-Idea’ pretty well.

“Your Potential, Our Passion” might not be the most flaccid tag line ever created, but it’s certainly in the top 10. It tells a customer / prospect nothing about the company – nothing. It is, at best, an advertising idea – not a marketing idea. And not a purpose-idea by any stretch.

Is it really their passion? I use Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, including Entourage for email. Where are the examples of this passion? How are they, in any way, using their resources, talent, etc. to help me reach my potential? From what I can tell, the Microsoft applications I use have not been significantly improved in years. Sure, things change and certain options are added… but, do these help me reach my potential? No.

“Change the world or go home” on the other hand is a purpose-idea that says to me: Hey, we’re pretty fucking big. We can bring the best talent on the planet together… we can give them the right resources… and we can turn this place on its ear. We have vast global reach and the capacity to impact the homes / businesses / lives of those we serve in unprecedented ways. And it’s about time we get on with it. Because, not only do we have the capacity – we have an obligation to the world and ourselves to not squander this opportunity. So push, pull, or get the fuck out of the way. Change the world or go home.

The bureaucratic minds among us will undoubtedly chime in with comments like these: Change the world? How? For the better? How is it for the better? What are the details? The specifics? Better for whom? When? Etc, etc.

These people should, well, go home. They’re not going to change anything because they need to know every detail of the destination and itinerary before they even begin the journey. They’re not ready for discovery. They’re not ready to change anything. They’re ready for meetings.

Previously posted on carmanpirie.com

Join us in conversation…