3 quotes on brand purpose from PR Moment’s PR pros event

Last week’s PR Moment ‘brand purpose’ event brought together speakers from M&S, BMW, Lexis Agency and Ladbrokes Coral to share how and why brands develop their purpose and how this impacts communications.

So, what did the PR pros have to say on this topic? Here’s my top three quotes from the evening:

  1. Purpose helps you ‘say no more’ ~ Tania Littlehales, M&S (@tanialmns)

Brand purpose defines why you do what you do and what you stand for.

It allows you to be more strategic by providing a framework for business decision-making.

It will help you to put the customer at heart of everything you do, be more selective about what you do, and confidently say no to initiatives that don’t fit your purpose.

Case in point, this one from M&S, when CEO Steve Rowe felt the brand was losing clarity on what it stood for:



2. ‘Our brand purpose doesn’t mention cars’ ~ Graham Biggs, BMW @biggs3008

BMW’s purpose doesn’t mention cars. Starbucks’ purpose doesn’t mention coffee.

Why? Because it’s not about what you do or what you make, it’s about how you make the world a better place (credit for this quote: @chonners) 

And in a highly-competitive world that purpose is your differentiator. It’s what sets you apart and influences customer and investor loyalty.

‘The power of purpose’ will also be a key driver for employee engagement. It’s much more inspirational and motivational than any of your products and services.

3. Brand purpose ‘is not a comms thing’ ~ Toby Conlon, Lexis Agency @chonners

It’s no good having a purpose that simply sits on a some documents within the comms team. Brand purpose must be backed up by action.

That means helping employees demonstrate the right values and behaviours, recruiting the right people for your purpose and ensuring leaders demonstrate integrity that’s consistent with the purpose too.

At the sharp end, leaders must be willing to ‘take the hit’ on revenue if opportunities come along which don’t align with the organisation’s purpose.

Take outdoor clothing company Patagonia – its Black Friday promotion told people ‘Don’t buy this jacket’. Why? Because Patagonia believes in sustainability and the company wanted its customers to think twice before they bought new items.


Thanks to all the speakers and also everyone at PR Moment for an interesting and useful evening; I really enjoyed hearing about how brand purpose has impacted all of these companies.


Do our internal comms need a diet?

two%20people%20eating%20burgerJust a few years ago an internal comms strategy was akin to the ‘three square meals a day’ approach.

It was designed to be hearty and filling, with enough nutritious energy to sustain employees throughout the working week. Sure, there were gaps between meals, but when a meal came along, you knew that you’d find something satisfying. A chunky monthly CEO message, a filling employee magazine for dinner. What’s more, employees could sit at the table in anticipation, build an appetite and know when and what they were getting.

Okay, so not everything was that great. For one thing, we used to serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table and run back to the kitchen. Everyone ate alone and we never asked anyone what they wanted to eat.

But slowly, we adapted. We sat down with our employees and ate at the table too – great! We started conversation over dinner – excellent! And we even got employees cooking meals too and serving them up themselves – even better!

But then, somehow, we lost our way.breakfast lunch dinner

Nowadays, employees never know when the next big feed will be because as well as the three square meals, we’ve allowed an array of snacks and junk food to be available on demand. Everything has become too messy, available without much thought into why it’s being served, and lacking nutrition.

So when did we comms teams become feeders? When did we allow our employees to binge on our comms?

For one, we allowed everyone to start cooking. We gave some training, and we opened up lots of places for the dishes to be served. We were so happy to see our people cooking, that somewhere along the way we forget that the kitchen still needs a head chef, a menu and a weekly meal plan.

Maybe we were just reflecting the (digital) world we live in? We were so keen to replicate the 24/7 drive-thru that is social media, that we unintentionally overfed our employees. We’ve lost track of what we’ve put on the table and we need to remember to give people the time to digest the important stuff.

And, sometimes I think we’ve lost sight of what’s important – those three square meals a day serve a real purpose. They help our people become stronger, with more energy and an appreciation of what they’re eating and why. In contrast, the junk lacks nutritional content, and worse, it means noone is hungry for the next meal. They lose an appetite for the good stuff and noone knows where they are because everyone’s just constantly eating.

diet picAs comms teams we need to take back control of the meal planning, bring back some routine and ensure our people get enough of the good stuff as well as the snacks. It’s a new year, and as most of us try to shed those unwanted xmas pounds, maybe it’s time to put our comms on a detox too?

Let’s ditch the junk and keep snacking to a minimum. Help our employees to understand the nutritional value of our comms by keeping our strategies focused on those three square meals a day.

What do you think? Do our internal comms need a diet?