Inside Inferno, Insight December 14, 2021

Your Agency’s Core Purpose Makes a Difference in the Lives of Clients and Employees

It can be difficult for an individual to define a goal and work towards it. Doing it for your business is even more challenging – but it’s a critical step on the path to success. A clearly defined core purpose is a powerful motivator for your employees.

When done well, your core purpose makes it clear to employees why your business exists, how it affects your customers or clients, their role in the process, and the ultimate goal you share. It gives employees a sense of connection and ownership over their work, especially when that vision aligns with their personal values and goals.

When we launched inferno more than 20 years ago, my partners and I wrote a core purpose statement that would influence every aspect of our business. This motto has become the cornerstone of our agency culture and a guiding principle for healthy client alignment and engagement.

To passionately dedicate ourselves to the success of our clients, who empower us to make a difference.

Whether we’re going through periods of growth or more challenging times, this guiding principle ensures that, at our core, inferno never changes. In everything we do, from fostering client relationships to building company culture, we translate the phrase “empowerment to make a difference” in the following three ways:

1. We invest in and passionately dedicate ourselves to clients who fully engage our staff’s talent, experience, and expertise.

At the start of every new client relationship, it’s crucial that they trust us to make a difference in their business. If we aren’t truly integrated as a trusted member of the team, we can’t do our best work and will ultimately be judged accordingly.

This means we must have the discipline to assess where we fit and where we don’t. We seek true strategic partnerships because we’ve learned that it will ultimately provide our agency and clients with the best results. This rule of thumb has proven to guide us well, as some of our client relationships are more than 20 years old. From the day we opened our doors, we made it our purpose to support our clients in a way that moves them to want to work with us for the long haul.

2. Our team is grateful for our opportunities to support clients who are making a significant difference in the world.

Some are expediting drug discovery and improving surgical outcomes. Others are investing in our local community and improving equity in the neighborhoods where we live and work. Being a part of this change motivates our team. When employees find value and meaning in their work, it has the added benefit of making them happier and more productive. It also gives them a sense of pride in their contributions to the agency and the community.

There’s something special about knowing the work you do is making a difference in the world. When we get a new project for a pro-bono client or even a paid client with a revolutionary new idea, you can feel the excitement of the team. They get to be part of something bigger going on out in the world and know that their efforts will make it possible to get the word out to people all across the globe.

3. Through our client collaboration, we are equipped with resources to make a direct contribution to our community.

Each year, the agency takes on work for non-profit organizations that wouldn’t otherwise have the marketing dollars to extend their message widely. While our team is emotionally invested in agency pro-bono work, it remains agency “work.”

Philanthropy is ingrained in our culture, which encourages our staff to support causes and organizations that are personally meaningful to them. Our internal philanthropy platform, called Fuelanthropic, is our endeavor to make a meaningful difference in our community. Every employee is given an additional week of paid leave each year to support efforts that fuel them personally. It’s inspiring to hear how employees use their time and talent to ignite change in our community, and it’s an exceptional and unique way to learn about our individual values and priorities.

Every brand has the potential for greatness. Tapping into that potential requires a team of motivated individuals grounded together by a shared purpose. When you are clear about your purpose, it helps attract and retain the right employees who share your vision. In turn, you continue to build a more collaborative culture that sets your clients up for success in their markets, all while serving the surrounding community.

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