Brand Purpose

Find Your Organization’s Purpose: How To Use Brand Voice To Achieve Desired Outcomes

A thought leader can refer to an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. Thought leadership is often used as a way of increasing or creating demand for a product or service. While thought leadership is not new, in our experience driven economy, where decisions about a brand are based off of who an organization is as much as what it does or sells, it has become an increasingly important vehicle to engage with both internal and external audiences. This notion is particularly true and can have exponential impact, when an organization frames its thought leadership platform around an aspirational purpose; one which aims to give back to the world as much as the bottom-line, and does so in ways that give people a reason to believe and engage.

In the era of experience, everyone, be they employee or customer, is a consumer who must be informed, entertained and delighted throughout every step of the consumer journey. Smart organizations are approaching creating these types of experiences by finding their purpose and then using it as a creative and aspirational theme with which to engage.  Consequently, an approach to building + operationalizing purpose-driven thought leadership can be increasingly valuable in achieving desired business outcomes.

By using thought leadership as the touchstone of any brand, with a through line of data-driven storytelling as not just a lever of awareness, but rather a powerful business competency, leading organizations can drive competitive differentiation and increased value with both employees and customers.


With internal audiences, the idea of an aspirational purpose or thought leadership platform, can be married with internal culture to deliver best-in-class storytelling and content experiences to employees with an eye on retaining them and turning them into brand advocates. Similarly, when applying this notion to customers and consumers, a brand’s aspirational platform must be connected to the themes driving external culture to achieve the same type of optimal experience throughout the consumer funnel. Both of these scenarios only happen when thought leadership is built around aspirational purpose and then operationalized by storytelling that is data-driven and harnessed as a powerful business competency. A key to success here is by moving storytelling from the end of the supply chain, to the inception of the invention process.

Note: Take this short survey for a free audit of your brand’s approach to purpose driven storytelling: Free Brand Purpose Storytelling Audit

Once a brand’s aspirational purpose is identified and built into a thought leadership platform, it can be operationalized through an inside-out approach designed to place a brand’s narrative of aspirational purpose directly into engagement efforts with consumers and employees alike. This can be achieved by:

  1. Crafting a Living Brand for employees instills a sense of aspiration and purpose at the heart of the culture , and highlights the increasing correlation between brand and culture. The goal is to work to transform employees into brand ambassadors through winning experiences, with the goal of transforming storytelling into an empowering business competency.
  1. Designing a strategic overlay for day-to-day business strategy which harnesses real-time data, analytics and insights to infuse purpose-driven storytelling into direct-to-consumer/customer efforts will optimize performance. Such thinking works to make any organization as much a content brand as a leader in a given industry and creates sustainable winning experiences.

Such an approach delivers value across an organization and enables it to drive engagement inside and out to deliver desired business outcomes such as:

  • Improved employee retention, productivity and engagement
  • Increased employee and consumer loyalty
  • Enhanced employee and consumer experiences
  • Optimized performance inside and out (i.e. productivity to profits)

To build and operationalize purpose-driven thought leadership platforms to achieve these types of results it is important to be able to deconstruct what the optimal experience of each target looks like and then work backward to build your strategy to achieve desired outcomes.

By transforming purpose and storytelling from overused buzzwords into critical tools that can help shape and define business strategy, any brand can operationalize thought leadership to achieve desired outcomes. By building thought leadership that is aspirational, and placing it as a touchstone driving the organization, audiences both inside and out have reasons to believe and engage, and do so in ways that define distinction and competitive advantage.

Billee Howard helps brands use storytelling as a competency that informs business strategy, culture development and growth. She also wrote WeCommerce, a book on collaboration in the new economy.

Note: This article was first published on Billee’s Forbes blog.

do better

Do More, Do Better

I know where my passion, expertise and skill set lie and the cultures in which I thrive. Working with smart people, brand marketing & partnerships, consumer insights & cultural trends that allow me to see and understand ‘what’s next’, content development & perhaps most importantly, doing something that positively impacts the world.

This probably helps explain why I have been happiest and most fulfilled in my career when I have guided brands to the future based on new technology and trends in ways that changed the way business is done, and allowed me to flex my entrepreneurial muscles in a manner that transcended mere profit to yield true purpose.

My current collaboration with Billee Howard – BRANDthropologie Media – is a creative consultancy built around purposeful inclusion that fuses all of my passions under one umbrella. What I’m most thrilled about my new role is the canvas I have to work with top brands, and the leaders who steward them, to begin to etch out what positive and meaningful change can and should look like in these polarizing times.  To provide the most value that bridges the gap between the public and private sectors and activate powerful change, we have developed a methodology that helps brands identify their purpose and then creates the content experiences that will help define distinction and positively impact the bottom line.  Think McKinsey meets NBCUniversal. McKinBC!  FINALLY, a role that gives me license to meld my business acumen with my passion for creativity and content.  FINALLY, a role that lets me unite my professional aspirations with my personal interests to effect positive transformation.

I am a risk taker, and as such, am not unfamiliar with being too early to the party with a product, idea or solution, but this feels different.  We are at a cultural flashpoint where it’s never been more important for brands to pick up the ball that the Government has so obviously fumbled.  I believe that what we have fought for so hard in the past – everything from basic civil rights to (more specific) disability and LGBTQ rights will continue to be called into question amidst this time of great uncertainty and upheaval.  As a result, we must all step up and have our voices count as the fight has just begun.  In today’s environment, the private sector can be a powerful amplifier of our voices, and our partner in not only maintaining the impactful changes of the past, but also ensuring the promise of further progress that strives to make tomorrow better than today.

My hands down favorite TED talk is Simon Sinek’s ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’.  I affectionately refer to this talk as ‘The Power of Why’.  People don’t buy what you do but why you do it. This mission of finding ways to profit with purpose will not only lead us to the protection of our rights and the continued progress we all crave, but also bring value to the brands leading this charge, setting a new standard of what business excellence should look like. Whether you are a newly-minted graduate choosing an organization to join, a community looking to partner with a brand, OR a shareholder deciding if you should increase your position in a stock, purpose will without question emerge as a critical bellwether in determining the answer to each and every one of these questions.

In our collaborative purpose-driven economy, day-to-day business practice must demonstrate that a brand cares as much about leaving the world a better place as it does about improving its own bottom-line.  I am not alone in this assertion.  Look no further than Fast Company’s ‘Find Your Purpose’ issue, The Harvard Business Review E&Y Study:  The Business Case for Purpose, Davos 2017, or even the purposeful inclusion cadence that set the rhythm for nearly every commercial at this year’s Super Bowl and Oscar Awards broadcast.  It has never been more important for brands to demonstrate that we are stronger together than we are divided.

I’ve had a personal mantra since I lost one of my dearest high school friends several years ago:  Do More, Do Better.  I pledge to live each and every day obeying that guiding mantra and I invite each and everyone of you to join me. United we stand. United we rise.

Todd A. Myers is the Chief Strategy Officer at BRANDthropologie Media. He will lead client engagements to directly connect purpose positioning to value creation and content solutions. You can follow him on Twitter at @ToddMyers123


trump for business

Finding A Silver Lining In The Trump Presidency: America Is the World’s Newest Emerging Market

Twenty-two years ago, I graduated from college into a world vastly dissimilar to the one that faces us today. The 90s were quite a different time with a different Clinton in the White House. The excess of the go-go 80’s had paved the way for more purposeful ideas, and America was still viewed as a bright and thriving nation and economic powerhouse.  A country of grace and elegance and ease. Jobs were plentiful, daily terrorist threats were not a reality, and while people swept up in the “grunge” of the times, exhibited a bit of the artist worthy angst that helped define the era, an overall sense of contentment and pride swaddled the nation.

It was at this time that I took my first job at a boutique government public relations firm who’s sole mission was to represent the Philippines, and its new democratic President, as great havens for overseas U.S investment dollars in the burgeoning Pacific Rim region.

President Fidel Ramos, my client, had been elected following the coup by Corazon Aquino, the country’s and Asia’s first female President, of billionaire dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and his notorious shoe loving wife Imelda. The country had a reason to swell with pride and the fledgling emerging market nation wanted the world to know about it.

This was not surprising as the Southeast Asian region, particularly hotbeds of growth like Singapore and Indonesia, began to assert themselves as viable and vital economic engines. Before BRIC there was the ASEAN list of third world nations poised for rampant growth and development as technology first reared its head as the great equalizer. The era of the mighty and transformation driven emerging market was born, and today, twenty years later, it is these very nations that stand out as the world’s most innovative and vibrant economies.

What makes me think of that time in my life at this moment is the amazing similarities that are evident in our country today. We too had a mighty woman fighting to overturn the establishment and break new boundaries. The only difference lies in the fact that she did not win her fight, and instead of us moving forward with a great new Democrat, we are moving in reverse with a Marcosian Republican who has his very own gold encrusted palace, replete with designer shoes, and matching bejeweled wife.

While this all sounds like extremely horrific news, what if it wasn’t? What if our nation’s massive regression actually was seen as the greatest act of creative destruction of all time? What if tearing down everything to the core, instead of building upon band-aids and broken promises, will actually enable the world’s greatest emerging market ever to emerge in its place?

With a Trump presidency, fail as it may, won’t a new America in some way most certainly arrive? An America that has a big “Open for Business” sign on it announcing to the world that while we are no longer the home of industrial manufacturing, we are still the place that produces the greatest ideas and innovations the world as ever seen ? The country known for rising from the ashes like a Phoenix in its most dire hour? The phrase darkest before the dawn was born in the USA after all wasn’t it?

Amidst all of Trump’s buffoonery and blustering over non-actionable ideas, (i.e. shutting down the FDA and EPA??) there are few infrastructure driven ones that seem plausible and practical given his background, and in the best interest of our nation.

It’s not hard to imagine Trump improving our country’s energy grid, transportation systems or technological backbone, which will ultimately make us more successful, competitive and might even return a bit of our luster on the global stage.

It’s not hard either to imagine well placed brilliant business people stepping into vitally important roles as part of the new Administration. Jamie Dimon helming the Treasury doesn’t give me pause. It gives me great hope for resumed prosperity. Peter Thiel in charge of innovation, technology and entrepreneurial growth and development, would also offer me a bright light at the end of what currently feels like an extraordinarily long and dark tunnel.


A new made in the U.S.A. movement has been quietly taking shape across our great nation for the past several years, with old industrial regions being remade into hotbeds of innovation. Think of the new Silicon movement. Dallas is no longer just known for oil, but is regarded as Silicon Prairie, home of gaming technology and disruption. Venice Beach is still about brawn, but not for Muscle Beach, but rather the legion of revolutionary tech start-ups dominating its streets, earning it the title of Silicon Beach. SnapChat, BuzzFeed, Google and Parkme all have footholds in the new thriving center of creativity and disruption.

There is also Silicon Bayou, (New Orleans), Silicon Forest, (Oregon) Silicon Hills (Austin), Silicon Hill (D.C), Silicon Anchor (Virginia) Silicon Desert (Arizona) and so on and so on. And these just aren’t bright shiny new names. They are real monikers for hubs of new high-tech industries ranging from semiconductors, to biotech, to financial services, to healthcare, putting good and hard working Americans, regardless of race, creed or color, back to work.

There are also towns with former factory driven economies long gone, with new vibrant economic ecosystems arriving in their place. Detroit, Michigan and Braddock, Pennsylvania just to name a few. Both rebuilt anew after being torn down. Started completely from scratch out of a place of darkness, but fueled by the courage to imagine a brighter and better tomorrow.

While a Trump presidency seems like the end…The end of rational thought, empowerment, idealism, equality and all other things a thriving democracy is supposed to be associated with….Maybe, just maybe, if we try hard enough, not in the best interest of our new President, but ourselves as Americans, we can see it as the beginning. The beginning of a new day in America, where we are in fact great again, not because of the division Trump has ignited, but rather for the spirit of collaboration, ingenuity, resilience, intellect and hope our great nation was founded upon, and that only recovery from great failure can kindle.

Billee Howard is the Founder of Brandthropologie where she helps CMOs and CEOs executive produce their brands. Schedule a 15min call with Billee right here.

Note – This article first published on Billee’s Huffpost blog right here

[Infographic] How To Executive Produce Your Brand In 3 Steps

As the line between journalism and entertainment content continues to blur, brands have the opportunity to step up as purveyors of not just winning products, but producers of content that can drive both engagement as well as specific business outcomes that directly correlate to improved business performance. Following are 3 easy steps that will help CMO’s “executive produce” their brands in ways that both “push” and “pull” information and content, as well as drive audience reach and measurable engagement:

Step 1) Development: Think of a Brand Story as a Movie that is Being Written & Cast

Step 2Production: Think of Your Content Platform As Your Movie Set

Step 3) Distribution: Imagine All The Ways In Which You Can Sell Tickets to Your Show

Build A Brand

[Infographic] 11 Business Trends Entrepreneurs Need To Be Aware Of

As 2017 approaches, it has become apparent that the collaborative economy is not a blip or fad, or something that is related to just Uber or Airbnb, but rather a vital engine powering the future of global business and entrepreneurialism.

Following are some key issues and business trends to take note of as our world of We-Commerce, and palpable shift from the me to the we, continues to evolve:

Business Trends