There is much discussion in the marketing world of the importance of brand purpose. But from my own experience, organisational purpose or corporate purpose trumps brand purpose every time. Why? Because our purpose is more than a marketing exercise. It goes to the heart of everything we do. It is used as a guide by which all of our activities are evaluated and measured. It is an intrinsic part of our strategic platform.
Establishing our mission
It is true that our purpose has evolved with time. Initially, when the company was formed in 2000, it was called P3. The three Ps were People, Purpose and Process. Helping people achieve commercial purpose through the creative process. It defined the work we would do and what we would not do. It was more our mission than a purpose.
As the business developed and the scope of the People we were working with changed from Advertisers and their Agencies to increasingly include Procurement, we added Trinity to the company name. The holy – or some may say unholy – trinity. But our mission, the definition of our work remained the same.
But the problem with this mission was, while perfectly functional, it lacked aspiration to make it motivational. It lacked the inspiration you find in defining your purpose.
Defining our category
Around this time, we also redefined the category within which we worked. While even today, many insist on referring to us as pitch consultants (particularly agencies), the reality is pitching is only a small part of our work. In the past decade, much of our work has been focused on marketing and supplier roster structures and processes. This is why we called ourselves Marketing Management Consultants. We act as management consultants to the marketing process.
Interestingly, we have been using this to define our category of work since 2007. There are still those who refer to us as pitch consultants because that is the part of our business where they have a major interest – particularly advertising agencies. Some clients know us as production consultants because in the early days much of the work we did was in this area. Others think of us as Media Auditors, although traditional media auditing was never a standalone service we offered.
Being true to our values
Relatively early in the history of TrinityP3, we engaged a business coach to help with development. They liked our Mission based on the three Ps but were shocked we had not developed values. Of course, we had values, just not a list of words written down to represent them. Collectively, we were taken through a process to capture our values that resulted in a list including honest, innovative, challenging etc.
I personally have a real issue with these value statements, as they can quickly become words without context. It was a few years later when I was reading a book on the 12 Literary Archetypes. Here was an opportunity to define values in the context of archetypal characters and their behaviours.
Working through the archetypes, we landed on three of the 12 that in any combination or alone define who you are and the values you bring to TrinityP3. The first is the Rebel or Outlaw – the one with the courage to challenge what does not work and destroy it if needed. Next is the Creator – who in the cleared space can create what is needed. But destruction and creation alone and without thought or wisdom is pointless. That is why the final one is the Sage – to bring knowledge, expertise and wisdom to the process.
What is our purpose?
In the seminal book “Built to Last”, Collins and Porras define purpose as “What would be missing if your business disappeared off the face of the earth?” If you read Simon Sinek, the question we needed to answer is “Why do we exist?” The answer was not only in what we do but how we do it.
The single-minded purpose of TrinityP3 is:
“We improve the marketing outputs of every single organisation that engages with us”.
How do we improve these marketing outputs? Through a focus on productivity and performance. Two more Ps. While there are many companies and agencies with a focus on performance, we believe that in the face of increasing technology-induced complexity there is a need to embrace the opportunities for increasing productivity to drive improved performance. On reflection, it is an evolution of our early focus on efficiency and effectiveness. But somehow efficiency became simply cost reduction. Productivity is much more about improving quality, speed, agility within cost.
So, that’s our Purpose. So what?
There is no point in having a purpose unless it guides your decisions, actions and behaviours. In our case, the mission, values and purpose are core to the decision-making process for the company.
Last year, in the depth of the pandemic lockdown, we made the decision to invest in trialling a broad-based industry mentoring program for marketing in Australia and New Zealand. Why? Because mentoring is one of the best ways to connect people across the vast diversity of the marketing profession and in the process improve marketing capabilities and understanding.
Back in 2007, we supported the development of the Gaia Partnership CO2 Counter for measuring GHG Emissions in all aspects of marketing because even then we could see the time when marketing would be accountable for achieving Net Zero emissions.
After witnessing marketers struggle with managing multiple agency relationships, and observing that all of the tools on the market focus on one agency relationship at a time, we invested in developing the Evalu8ing platform to allow marketers to measure not just relationship performance, but collaboration, alignment and engagement across all stakeholders and agencies.
Very early on, we developed the online Agency Register so that agencies could provide their commercial details to us for free in a safe and secure online environment, instead of having to send up credentials presentations and showreels.
Last year we updated the Agency Register to ask agencies to share their positions on all aspects of good corporate social responsibility, from Net Zero emissions to diversity, equity and inclusion, corporate philanthropy and more.
Now we are partnering with various industry players to develop a metric for agencies and advertisers to be able to benchmark their progress on embracing diversity in all aspects of humanity, including gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, age and education.
And yes, this purpose extends through to all of the brand-building we do. It is integral to all of our marketing. Whether it’s sharing knowledge and insights through our articles on the website three times a week, or whether it’s the weekly Managing Marketing podcast that provides a forum for industry voices to discuss their perspectives – it is all aligned with supporting our purpose.
Engaging with TrinityP3 is not just about being our client. Engaging with us includes everything from sharing or commenting on our social media posts to joining one of our webinars or industry programs we run.
It is because of this central role that purpose plays in our business that we think of it as our corporate purpose, not the brand purpose.
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