Staying True to Your Cause

By John Guastaferro, CFRE

Every great brand starts with a cause—their reason for being. We all have a cause, whether we are a nonprofit, corporation, startup, established business, or financial institution. Yet, cause often gets diluted amidst numerous other priorities and day-to-day tasks. We have all had those days where we need to step back, take a breath, and remind ourselves WHY we are doing this all in the first place.

When your cause, brand, and team are aligned, it creates a powerful framework for success. Here are a few examples where a steadfast commitment to cause has led to extraordinary outcomes.

Starbucks started in a small storefront in Seattle in 1971 for the purpose of sharing the love of brewing the perfect coffee. Their purpose of bringing people together continues. Starbucks never set out to become Fortune’s fifth most admired brand in the world. This resulted as a steadfast commitment to bring people together.

Apple started with the purpose of putting technology in the hands of everyone in a way that was simple, beautiful, and intuitive. They did not set out to become the second most valuable brand at $107 billion. Again, this was the outcome of remaining true to their purpose. Sure, there were detours along the way, but even when Steve Jobs returned to Apple during one of its lowest points, it was the Apple brand—its purpose—that remained its most valuable asset. Knowing this, Jobs revived Apple’s brand with the launch of the iMac and it’s concurrent Think Different campaign.

While cause is vital, so are your brand and your team. Focus on strategies to synergistically connect your cause, brand, and team. This creates a holistic framework for success.

CAUSE: The problem you solve; your reason for being

Be clear on how you are uniquely qualified to address your cause.

BRAND: The promise you make through all you do

Know it, share it, fulfill it, and keep it across all media channels.

TEAM: The people behind the mission

Engage your team through it all. Focus on turning monologue into dialogue.