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  • Emily Witter

Do you have the foundations in place to make positive change?



In the first of two articles Richard Flewitt outines the role of brand essence in creating an engaged and successful business.

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Just imagine for a moment that every employee is enthusing about your services or products at every opportunity because they totally believe in your organisation and what you stand for. Not only are they happier at work and therefore less likely to want to leave or take an unwarranted 'sickie', they do whatever they can to support your change agenda and to ensure that your company thrives.

Now consider the alternative scenario ...... your employees are not particularly engaged by what you do, why you do it or how you do it; they turn up each day, do their work adequately and efficiently, then go home. They demonstrate little loyalty to you or your desire for change; they do their work and you pay them.

Which option would you prefer?

By developing a positive and purposeful culture, then making sure it is embodied across your organisation you will build the solid foundations on which to create positive change that will drive sustainable success. Employees and customers will be happier and more engaged, improving retention and loyalty whilst also saving you money on expensive recruitment campaigns and training.

"The brands that will thrive in the coming years are the ones that have a purpose beyond profit.“ Richard Branson


Have you noticed that, while you can buy the same thing from a range of companies, you are drawn to one particular provider by a ‘gut feeling’? That fluffy, intangible ‘knowing’ is, in fact recognising the ‘essence’ of the brand. The ‘Brand Essence’ captures that intangible feeling that underpins the culture of an organisation and influences customers, employees and stakeholders by giving them a sense of what the brand is all about. As Mark Sears, former Head of Brand Strategy at Virgin told me,

“Ninety percent of a brand is about what it is like beneath the surface, only ten percent about what it looks like”


Just imagine how powerful it would be if you could articulate your brand essence, then attract and retain the right customers and employees to make your business thrive? This is precisely what some big brands such as John Lewis and Virgin have done. As Paula Nickolds, MD of John Lewis retail told me,

“We’re not 150 years old by accident – in order to evolve and continue to

secure a brand like we have, I think it owes more to the culture and the people than it ever does the MD, or the decisions being made by the board”

Paula Nickolds confirms a common thread from my interviews with business leaders that two elements combine to create the essence of your brand:​

- A successful culture is based around your WHY; your purpose, your mission, the reason you and your people get up in the morning and come to work.​

- Your people, or your WHO, need to be aligned with your mission and values so that you can take them on the journey with you.


When you take the time to discover your WHY and WHO, then make your resulting brand essence the foundation stone of your organisation, you will get all your people on-board and success will take care of itself.


Read more from UK business leaders on this topic by buying “Change Wisdom” on Amazon globally for 99p Kindle or £12 paperback (or equivalents). Find out more here

#engagement #brandessence