A Secret to Company Success and Employee Fulfillment

Do you want your company to be successful and your employees fulfilled? If so, be clear and concise about what concern you are serving.

Here's a great example from Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia. It illustrates creating meaning and communication before tasks and doing--to energize the staff, the brand and company performance at Pedigree dog food company:

Despite spending more than $178 million on advertising and promotion in 2004 and being the leading global dog food brand, Pedigree ... experienced loss of market share, a squeeze on margins, strained retailer relations, lackluster customer loyalty, and undifferentiated product offerings...

After considerable soul searching, the company realized that all it really did was "put wet food in tins and dry food in bags to make a profit." This uninspiring look in the mirror led to the questions "What is our purpose?" and "Why do we do what we do?" ...

The company embraced the idea of becoming "the dog-loving company." It articulated its newly discovered purpose "We're for dogs" in a manifesto, appropriately titled Dogma:

We're for dogs.

Some people are for whales.

Some are for the trees...

We're for dogs.

The big ones and the little ones.

The guardians and the comedians.

The pure breeds and the mutts.

We're for walks, runs and romps.

Digging, scratching, sniffing and fetching.

We're for dog parks, dog doors and dog days.

If there were an international holiday for dogs on which all dogs were universally recognized for the quality of their contribution to our lives, we'd be for that too.

Because we're for dogs.

Dogs rule.

This manifesto became the centerpiece of a bold new advertising campaign. The company shifted from product advertising to philosophy-based advertising, spending less but having a much greater impact. Importantly, Pedigree carried the idea all the way through the business, putting dogs and dog welfare front and center of every business activity. On every team member's business card is a picture of his or her dog. This helps forge a connection with other dog lovers, including dog food buyers at retailers. [There are several more example of how this was infused into the practices and activities of the company.]

The new approach took root slowly, but within a couple of years, the company was reaping tremendous benefits, in terms of both strong brand health and stellar financial results. Team member morale and engagement soard. The company had its best year ever.

       

What customer concern do you serve? What is the purpose of your company? These are critical questions to address. If the answers to these questions are not clear in your organization, actions and activities of your employees will not have meaning, alignment or coordination.