Podcast: Holistic Alignment and When Do We Stop Lying?

Join Scott as he sits down with Rob Kischuk and the Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast to discuss Purpose in marketing and how in order to be believable you must be aligned, holistically as an organization, under one reason for being.

Listen to the podcast here. Below is a recap provided by ConvergeHQ and the Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast team.

Scott Couvillon is CEO and Executive Strategy Director at Trumpet Advertising, an agency that strives to create purpose-aligned, believable ads. Scott says that companies succeed with their advertising, not only because their creative product promotion is compelling, but more so when the ads “compel an honest connection between a person and a brand.” Scott says there is a lot of talk in the advertising industry about purpose. What is more important is “What do you do with it once you’ve got it.”

Scott holds that advertising needs to be aligned with a company’s core beliefs. Organizations need to think holistically and ask, “If you put purpose in the center, how do you:

  1. Get the company culture aligned with that purpose?”
  2. Get the advertising and communications pieces aligned with that purpose?” and
  3. Get the customer experience aligned with that purpose?”

Advertising agencies typically work on communications – but may neglect a company’s culture and customer experience components. Focus on product characteristics does not build relationships with customers, instill customer loyalty, or keep a company’s product from becoming a commodity. Trumpet clients have a common understanding – “They will sell more product by selling that product within the context of what they stand for.” Scott explains, “Brand connection is an invitation to participate in a culture that is very intentional.”

Holistic alignment is what sells premium brands like Apple phones and BMW SUVs. If you don’t have holistic alignment, Scott says, the best you can hope for is that people will not dread the absence of holistic alignment. The product is okay . . . and the customer only hopes the experience won’t be bad.

Because transformational organizational alignment involves a deeper client-agency relationship beyond mere “communications management,” Trumpet typically engages with organizations in one of two ways:

  1. High-level management will bring Trumpet in to force “purpose alignment” on its marcom operations.
  2. Trumpet will start out working with marcom. Once Trumpet has proven itself, it uses its analytical performance to talk with the leadership team about a more holistic brand and organizational alignment.

Scott presents the example of one client, a “very profitable credit union” that Trumpet turned into “a very meaningful credit union.” “Meaning” made the credit union “even more profitable.” Although increased profit wasn’t the first goal, it was the result of the client’s focus on purpose. He refers to Raj’s Conscious Capitalism, and these “firms of endearment,” as “the companies that we don’t dread.”

Communications should be locked in with company culture and customer experience, all three driven by clairvoyance and purpose. Scott asks key questions. “What is the core belief?” “What would the world lose if this company went out of business?” and then delivers an indicting punchline to the last query: “If the answer is a product, then you’re a commodity and somebody else can do what you do. He warns that commoditization often happens when companies internalize the advertising function, communicate on self-serve platforms, and focus more on selling product than on “what they stand for.”