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"... a never-ending, iterative process..." sounds like a startup. Taking a continual assessment of the piles of cultural and personal beliefs about work and value that need to be altered to do do a startup well might also be inorder for brands and those that work as agents of them.

Maybe the second step to a brand with a purpose is a purpose with a sketched aim. It's kinda like a direction but more active like aiming a gun vs driving a car in a direction. It's more nimble. Maybe brands should have story boards, ala the prep for a 30 second spot, but for their coming year. The scenes could be the past, present and forthcoming few quarters. Maybe, next quarter has a much more defined set of scenes and the 4th quarter only one pencil sketch of sorts?

Purpose over plan makes sense, and changes the leadership challenge to focus on ensuring each team member is aligned with the brand purpose. Reminds me of Zappos, empowering everyone on the team to engage the purpose in their own unique way. Could/should be a marketing motif?

What does this idea say to the tension between outside agencies vs inside teams? Brands have more control when they move inside, and more control of the purpose?

The problem which I've blogged about often is the separation of marketing from corporate strategy.

All marketing activities and planning must be derived from the corporate strategy and it's from there that "purpose" is drawn. Ideally, that strategy should enunciate a corporate purpose, it's not for marketing to introduce another one - that way lies chaos.

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