In the past two months, I’ve presented the brand purpose findings and messaging for a few different clients. It’s one of the best parts of the process. After weeks of interviews, research and connecting dots, I’m able to reveal a powerful statement of purpose meant to differentiate their business, build engagement among audiences and foster brand authenticity.
However, before getting to the brand purpose statement, I walk each client through the research findings. This usually means standing in front of a business owner or executive team and sharing the organization’s core strengths – and weaknesses. Identifying opportunities for growth while also detailing potential threats to future success. It’s not the easiest part of the conversation, but it is the most important part of their purpose.
As I work with more companies, I’ve realized much of our success building purpose comes from the leadership’s ability to embrace vulnerability. Not in a way that jeopardizes the strength of the organization, but rather in a way that makes the organization stronger.
One of the most important goals of brand purpose is to establish an authentic brand story. To build brand authenticity, we peel back the layers of what you do and reveal why you do it. The result is a message that resonates more personally with stakeholders and builds stronger, more targeted engagement.
However, in order for a brand to build authenticity, it must first embrace vulnerability. Vulnerability builds trust. Leaders at the top must be willing to let down their guard, to be open and honest and to create an environment where those contributing to the process are encouraged to share. They need to be ready to listen and eager to take action.
For years, using the word vulnerability in a business context has implied weakness. However, the expectations of businesses has changed. Those with a clear and authentic story are rewarded. In this context, vulnerability can become your greatest strength.