A meaningful message, or pandering without purpose

Be a company with meaning and purpose. It’s a simple concept, yet one that many companies still can’t execute effectively.

What does that mean, anyway? How does a company have meaning or purpose? And, more important, how do you convey that meaning and purpose in a meaningful or purposeful way, so you don’t pander to your audiences?

It starts with understanding why your company exists. It’s not enough to say we’re here to run a successful business. Or we’re here to help people. What people? And how?

It’s not about you or your company

The Associated Press published an article called “Consumer goods giant Unilever vows to slash the use of plastic.” Unilever is working to connect with younger audiences, who are more conscious of environmental impacts on the world they depend on.

And of course, you have the pinnacles of social impact companies such as Patagonia, whose mission reads, in part, to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Patagonia lives the brand that it portrays to the public, its customers and to the world. There is real meaning behind the brand and purpose because they put that purpose into action through meaningful impacts on the world.

Today’s consumers, and the general public, are much more educated than ever before. They have massive amounts of information at their fingertips, and just as important, they are willing to make their voices heard.

They have high demands in exchange for their support (i.e., their money).

They also have high demands … period.

It’s no longer enough to just do good for your supporters. You have to do good for the world, or at least the part that you inhabit and operate your business and brand.

The phrase, “Saying is one thing and doing is another,” was coined a few hundred years ago, but is still so applicable today.

Once the action is done, you need the words to convey the right message.

It’s about words and actions. If you don’t have both, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Man Behind The Curtain?

There is no more man behind the curtain because there is no longer a curtain.

Operate responsibly, with heart and purpose. It’s the best advice I can give to weather a crisis.

You can’t run from negative attention. You can’t hide from bad press.

You can own your story by controlling the messaging around your brand. While books have been written on how to do this, it starts with the idea of transparency.

Transparency is crucial to the success of a company and that’s done through strategic communications.

Tell your company’s story in a transparent, authentic and meaningful way. If done correctly, any company can weather a crisis or make even better news out of positive support.

I’ll bring this full circle: You need to tell your audiences what you stand for in advance, consistently and often.

Travis Claytor

Travis Claytor is president and owner of TC Strategic Communications. He has led teams that have developed and executed nationally, and internationally, integrated strategic communications plans around some of the world’s top events, including the Super Bowl and the Republican National Convention.

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