How good intentions can toll a brand's death knell

Mission MomentWe've all witnessed it: the company retreat that gets people fired-up and ready to change the world. But soon, the insistent voices of daily work drown out the enthusiasm. 

People slip back into habits. Visions of new innovations and purpose fade softly and disappear with hardly an echo.

you-know-what's paved with good intentions
What happened? Where did everyone go? Did they forget, or did things just get too noisy?

Did management fail to provide leadership and support for the doers? Excitement isn't enough. Adequate resources are also needed so people can execute. If they can't, they won't.

Even worse: do employees see this as the mission du jour? If someone is saying "here we go again, the boss has another big idea that will never be implemented," you're doomed. It means disillusionment and a failure of trust. There's a strong likelihood that some of the best people will leave.

Ignore the waning enthusiasm at your own risk.

mission critical
Someone from Youth Entrepreneurs recently told me about one method they use to keep their internal audiences—staff and volunteers—engaged, excited and on course. They open meeetings with what they call a "mission moment." It's quick and to-the-point, and it reminds everyone why they're there.

The mission moment also guides discussion and decision-making so there's no creep. Everyone's on the same page so meetings are more efficient and produce better results.

same song, second verse
You can find inspiration for keeping passion burning brightly by looking around at other high-performance organizations. Here are some other examples I've noticed:

  • The Container Store prints their core principles on the tape that wraps their shipping boxes (that's a sure sign of internal and external brand alignment).
  • At Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy, the mission is written prominently on all communications to its board of trustees (extra points for making it short and memorable).

ring the bells
Church bells ring at regular intervals as constant reminders to the faithful. Strong brands need some bells—and whistles—of their own. Some ideas:

  • Mission (again short and memorable) etched in glass is a classy interior design element for employees to see each time they pass.
  • Snazzy t-shirts with mission and great graphics given to employees (then their family and friends see it, too).
  • Social media sharing that sings the praises of employee accomplishments toward the vision... nice!

it takes a chorus
Just as one voice can't have the impact of an entire chorus, one mission-promoting tactic alone won't sufffice. Get creative at finding ways to keep your message alive and fresh.

This is not the job of one department. Ask for help. Gather a cross-functional team from HR, marketing, operations, PR, sales and others. Then use their collective power to create a unique brand voice that reaches out to employees and customers alike. You'll engage, enthuse and enthrall. 


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Tags: internal brand, brand alignment, employee engagement, business strategy, brand value, high growth companies, culture

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