I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU, "Insert every brand that takes a stand".
Updated: Jul 13
The brands that inspire me all have one common denominator, guts.
Simon Sinek said, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." I try to live by this as a consumer and a professional. I spend a lot of time reading about companies, brand alignment and how organizations overcome challenges such as lack of trust, engagement and internal motivation (more on that topic on my next blog). Below is a short list of companies that I believe get it right when it comes to brand strategy, purpose, vision and mission. They all exhibit transparency, trust, compassion and guts.
Charity : Water
Everyone loves a comeback story and this one is hard to beat. I also admire how they tackled one of their biggest obstacles to success in the charity world, lack of trust with off the charts transparency. One of the best summaries of their success and it's founder, Scott Harrison, can be found on this Masters of Scale podcast. Talk about a lesson in storytelling.
World Wildlife Federation
I recently learned about the inherent challenges of marketing an organization that tackles some of the most horrific threats we face today. From domestic threats to extinction, it's hard to promote your business in this environment. Tackling normalcy bias from a place of hope, while encouraging action, is why I admire WWF, the Jane Goodall Institute and the rockstars of the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit.
Kashi, Patagonia and Toms : Passion. Passion. Passion.
If you read the back of the Kashi box, you'll see the company is financially supporting farmers who are transiting to organic farming. They take pride in helping the industry at large and living true to one of their core values of "nourishing people and the planet with plant-powered passion". In short, they give back to help the greater good.
Patagonia takes no prisoners when it comes to giving back, staying true to the founder's vision and mission and standing proudly by their political views. They contribute "1% of their sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment". And since their CEO Rose Marcario took over in 2014, the company's social activism has increased, as has it's bottom-line results. They are well aware that people who shop Patagonia care about the environment and getting political strengthens their brand loyalty. If you are a business owner, consider joining their 1% for the Planet program or starting one.
Check out one of their only commercials. Spoiler alert, it's not about clothes. Brené Brown talks about "People. People. People." in her latest, wonderful book, Dare to Lead. For this blog, I say "Passion. Passion. Passion."
The "How I Built This" podcast with Guy Raz is a staple of mine when I'm in the car for at least an hour. In this episode with founder Blake Mycoskie, Blake discusses how the philanthropic nature of his business, TOMS, has produced a successful brand by giving back shoes, sight and water to those in need. In short, do what you love and it will pay off.
While they may not compete with the Patagonias of the world in terms of a 'feel good' brand purpose, they do take risks that could negatively impact their bottom line. Politics aside, sticking to the heart of their "Just Do It" tagline and general message of overcoming life's obstacles, I can't think of a better representation other than partnering with Colin Kaepernick. It takes guts to put revenue on the line. It's also smart. Andre Redelinghuys writes in his 2018 blog, The Prize for Nike’s Calculated Fall from Grace, that given the changing landscape of how brands reach consumers, companies may need to take a
controversially approach in order to win at the engagement game. It's a shift from traditional marketing campaigns and a trend I'll be following. It's not rocket science that controversy gets attention; just look at our current POTUS. Pun intended.
A FEW MISFITS
While more maven than misfit, Acorns ROCKS the joint branding and partnership angle. Why doesn't my mom ever except my invitation? I mean we can all retire $50 richer.
And my latest, unique and under the radar favorite is the pits... the armpits, Lume. Unique design, packaging and positioning. More on Lume after coffee.