Branding for Purpose

KEN ERKE

KEN ERKE

Mahdlo Advisor | Founder, MajorBehavior

Working with non-profits is something we have done for many years.  These organizations have a purpose to serve that extends from the board room to employees, communities and society at large.  Purpose is a powerful growth accelerator and it’s also why their organizations matter to people.  This is similar to corporations and how they continue to evolve and accelerate purpose driven efforts in the past 6 months.  In this interview, I chat with Ken Erke, Mahdlo advisor and the owner of Major Behavior, about his thoughts on branding for a higher purpose. 

What really inspires you about brands that have a higher purpose?

I have had a chance throughout my career to work with non-profits and they are very grateful.  It’s so nice to work with a non-profit for that reason.  It’s a chance to put your efforts into something that is socially good. Currently, when you have an opportunity to work with a mission-based company, typically everyone comes to work knowing what they are going to do from the C-suite down.  They have a larger purpose versus a consumer product focused company where everyone has a section of the chain.    With mission-based companies it is very concise and clear because you have a group of people all marching in the same direction.  You experience the power of that. You can definitely see when everyone is working on a single focus how powerful and positive that can be. 

 

Tell us how you transformed the United Community brand which is a non-profit focused on ending multi-generational poverty?

The story is that this was a way to transform their message and branding.  What was interesting is that they never wanted a revolution but instead more of an evolution of their brand.  They had a strong north star which was to help end multi-generational poverty.  The name used to be United Community Ministries and yet they were no longer taking part in the ministry aspect.  They were looking for a new name and look and we were collectively charged with that.  What was really clear is that they had the story of a divided community.  As we evolved the look and feel that was at the epicenter of it all.  This design work bridged the emphasis of the individuals in the community that have the power to help us with the mission.  

 

What advice would you give about branding and larger societal causes post-pandemic?

In the last 6 months we are noticing more and more of the economic power of brands to shift money away from areas where they disagree with the message.  If a large portion of a brands consumer audience is aligned with the brand and the message is in conflict with the media or platform they are running on you will now see brands shift their spend to other platforms or areas as a way to say “I disagree.”  I think that is really interesting and will continue to evolve post pandemic. 

Ken and I talked further about the evolution of brand trends that we have seen in recent years like Tom’s and Kind Bar and clean beauty brands as examples that have a purpose.  More and more consumers see this as a reason that these organizations matter.  It’s not just a growth accelerator but a reason why brands matter to consumers.  This is a trend that started before the pandemic and will continue to evolve afterwards and beyond.   

 

The lessons learned from mission driven brands:

  1. When Your People Understand The Mission They Are Inspired To Work Harder
  2. No Matter What Business You Are In Finding Your Purpose Can Be A Huge Growth Accelerator
  3. Mission Driven Brands Are Inherently Authentic And Transparent

 

If you are looking for ways to evolve your brand purpose don’t hesitate to reach out to an advisor for help.  If you are able please support, United Community or your local non-profit organization.

Michelle Faison Oldham

Michelle Faison Oldham

Brings over 20 years of experience generating dynamic sales and marketing solutions for some of the largest brands in the world. Michelle has held various sales and marketing leadership roles with leading organizations including AT&T, Prodigy Communications, and Sprint PCS. She has also worked with leading management consulting firms and founded her own marketing consultancy in 2005. Drawing from her vast professional experience, she was featured in Entrepreneurial Woman Magazine in 2006 and named Minority Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2008. Michelle graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with her BA in Business Management and attended Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business Minority Entrepreneur Program, Harvard University School of Continuing Education for Design Thinking and Yale University Women’s Leadership Development program.
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