Monthly Archive: July 2013

Build A Great Brand By Engaging Your Staff and Living Your Company’s “Why”

How does a company inspire true passion and loyalty in its workers?


It’s more than an operational mandate today, happy workers are the key to how a company is perceived by its various constituencies.

Yet, according to Gallupnew data from Gallup, very few companies have a decent answer to the fundamental question at the heart of their enterprise.

The vast majority of U.S. workers, 70%, are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplace and are less likely to be productive.

Actively disengaged employees alone cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion each year in lost productivity, and are more likely than engaged employees to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.

That’s a lot of needless waste. It’s also where marketing meets operations, or more aptly put, this is where operations turns to marketing for help.

Gallup found that a mere 41% of employees feel that they know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors’ brands. I am not surprised by this number, but I am horrified by it. Six in ten people don’t know what their company’s stands for or what makes it special? That’s a crime.

Brands are inside-out propositions. You start with the core values of the company and its founders. Why you’re in business is everything. A company’s “why” ripples outward and informs the how.

My suggestion is make sure your staff knows your firm’s core values, and its reason for being. You want to convey these things to your prospective customers too, but first things first. Give your people a compelling reason to show up in the morning and that reality on the ground will soon propel your brand and your company to new heights.

Images of public mural in Eugene, OR c/o Oregon Blue Book

Previously on Bonehook: Drop the What, When and Where. Let’s Talk About How and Why You Do Business.

Are You Making Ads While Rome Burns?

Too few ad men speak truth to power. Or truth to the entrenched, as the case may be.

Gareth Kay, Chief Strategy Officer and Associate Partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners used the 50th anniversary celebration of “brave advertising” in Cannes this year to share some true pearls of wisdom from the stage.


We’re excellent at the wrong type of innovation. We relentlessly pursue and celebrate the latest ‘new’ way of doing what we have done before. And it is rarely about imaginatively finding new types of things to do with our creativity and to explore new ways to get paid for them.

…Clients are asking us to grow their business and solve big, tough, complicated commercial problems. Yet our default behavior and niche obsessions with the ad makes the link between the commercial imperative and the creative solution far too weak and indirect.

We have to become more obsessed by the outcome we create rather than the output we make.

I’ve been a fan of Kay’s for some time, but now I am a huge fan.

Personally, I left my “niche obsession with the ad” on the beach in April 2006. That’s when all the DIY learning and doing I’d been pursuing in digital realms came to a professional head, and I went from being a Senior Copywriter who made ads for placement in traditional media channels, to being an Editor of big lifestyle brands’ consumer websites.

I continue to make ads, but it’s a small part of a larger whole now. I don’t identify as an ad maker any longer, although I made continue to make ads. Some call what I do “brand journalism.” The funny thing about that is all paid journalism is brand journalism. As a journalist, you can write for a media company, or you can write for a brand invested in making its own media. I do both, gladly.

Also, I have to say coming from a marketing services agency background versus a general market ad shop background has turned out to be a wonderful gift. When you’re the underdog used to fighting for scraps from the client’s table, you learn to provide solutions of all kinds. It’s a different mindset from an ad maker’s and one that now helps me stay on course as a provider of marketing solutions.