Find Your Why: No One Rallies Around Mission Statements, So Discover Your Purpose

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Find Your Why: No One Rallies Around Mission Statements, So Discover Your Purpose


Think about your liquor cabinet. Now think about that tired, dusty bottle of “Old Crow” that’s sitting on the bottom shelf. Something you glance over every once in a while but never dream of opening it or bringing it out of the shadows and into the light of day.

Pretty similar to your company’s mission statement? You felt like you had to put one together but haven’t looked at it for years. You probably can’t even quote the first sentence of it.

Well, you’re not alone. Many companies feel the need to deliver a mission statement and most do. The problem is they lose focus, make the statement way too long for any of their employees to remember, and once it’s done, house it on their web site or in a company document without ever referring to it.

If it’s not part of your daily routine and clear to your employees, then what good is it? That’s why we believe in Simon Sinek’s model – we believe that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your why should be concise, simple and straight to the point. It has to answer several questions, most importantly, why do you get out of bed every morning and do what you do and why does your company exist? With all the competition in many categories you have to make your brand stand out. Your why can help do just that.

So, find your why, communicate it both internally and externally and see how your culture and your business changes.

I know our why – “We believe every company has a deeper purpose, and it’s our job to find out what that is.” If you’d like us to help you figure out your why, just reach out. It’s what we do – and we’re good at it.


Plus, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Trending Now from G/L: wants to change the online retailers landscape

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending Now from G/L: wants to change the online retailers landscape

The way we buy things is changing so fast that it’s nearly impossible to keep tabs on the recent trends. Companies like Uber and AirBNB have changed the way we travel. StubHub changed the way we buy event tickets. Amazon changed the way we view retail and shifted the focus for so many brick and mortar stores.

A decade from now, will have a similar impact on the way we buy?

What is, you might ask? Well, it’s kind of like an online version of Costco without having to buy everything in bulk. The site claims to offer prices cheaper than anywhere else on the web, as well as discounts for buying additional items. Also, free shipping at a certain threshold and free returns.

The only catch: much like a warehouse club, it costs $49.99 a year to get access to these deals. One industry insider said that “they’re spending a ton on customer acquisition” as a way to make sure they hit the ground running.

Regardless, it’s an interesting premise that seems to be equal parts Amazon and Peapod. Initially launched online in 1996, Peapod was one of the first sites to make grocery shopping accessible without leaving the house. After some initial growing pains, the company seems to be stable.

Now, back to Their marketing so far has included offering stock options to users to promote the site, interviews with top business publications as well as (potentially) viral videos, a la Dollar Shave Club.

One of their latest videos, which launched last week, features actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani. It’s a pretty awesome walkthrough of how the site works with high-quality humor thrown in as well. While the video may not make or break the site, it seems like a pretty good start.

And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge Portlandia fan.

What do you think? Can take on Amazon and other online retailers heavyweights? Or will it flame out like Send us a note or tweet at us with your thoughts.

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Find Your Why: Why Do You Do What You Do?

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: Why Do You Do What You Do?

What makes a company successful?

That is a question that start-ups and longstanding businesses alike find themselves asking when times get tough.

This complex question has a very simple answer. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

In 2009, Simon Sinek released “Start With Why,” a book outlining exactly what makes companies who are concrete in their purpose so prosperous.

“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money—that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”

These questions are not something that many companies have truly thought about. There are so many different brands fighting for the top spot in the same industry; to stand out seems nearly impossible. It takes an organization that has a clear vision for what they are trying to achieve, and that vision needs to be valued from the company president all the way to the office intern.

Once an organization has established their core belief – one that defines everything that they are doing everyday – it is time to share the message. Consumers are going to choose the brand that they can believe in. When they can relate to and understand a company’s “why,” there is a certain level of trust established – in quality and service. The customer is going to remember that brand and become loyal to it.

When you find your why, success is simple: believe in your business and others will do the same.

Are you looking to inspire people to believe in what you are doing, but can’t quite define your “why”? We’re always here to help out.


Plus, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Trending from G/L: What Makes Mobile Marketing Matter?

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: What Makes Mobile Marketing Matter?

The mobile platform is advertising’s newest puzzle and it’s making creatives question their storytelling tactics. With high traffic and low engagement, mobile marketing is established enough to have brands knocking at its door, but most are questioning if anyone’s even home. Mountain Dew, BBDO NY, OMD Worldwide, and Google’s Art, Copy & Code team joined forces to figure out how video advertising needs to evolve in order to be effective in a mobile setting—Unskippable Labs was born.

The collaborators took an existing television advertisement (Mountain Dew Kickstart’s “Come Alive”) and created three versions, each varying in length and content. Using YouTube TrueView (it gives viewers the option to skip ads), they monitored the viewership of each cut in an effort to understand what catches the attention of mobile viewers.

The three cuts included:

“The Original”—a traditional 30-second TV spot with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

“The Big Punch”—a 31-second mobile ad that presents the brand before the viewer has a chance to skip.

“Pure Fun”—a 93-second cut that drops viewers into the middle of the action. Here, there’s no real story arc and the brand is subtly featured throughout.

Viewers had no clear preference when viewing the three ads from desktop computers—view-through rates were nearly equal; however, on mobile, “Pure Fun” boasted a 26% higher view-through rate than the other two cuts.

Viewers watched “Pure Fun” more frequently and for longer periods of time—an average of 1 minute 9 seconds. Despite elevated viewership, brand recall (Mountain Dew) was more or less equal to the other cuts and specific product recall (Kickstart) even plummeted.

Were viewers perplexed by the randomness? Intrigued by the uncertainty of direction? Who knows? What we can conclude is that brevity isn’t a necessary component for mobile marketing as we once thought.

Previous mobile efforts prioritized engaging viewers directly with outcries of, “Hey! You there!” within the 5-second grace period before viewers have the ability to skip. Perhaps this study will spawn a new wave of mobile marketing, ultimately ditching ad norms and turning to riffs on absurdity and unpredictability.

This goes back to the idea of making consumers care and making it mean something to them. If you have concerns about getting your target audience to take notice of your brand, contact us anytime.

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Find Your Why: How? Start By Asking Questions

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: How? Start By Asking Questions

Just about everyone works for something “bigger” than themselves from a literal standpoint—a corporation, for example; but how about “bigger” in a sense of significance? Finding and implementing a reason for doing—what we call a “why”— can have a tremendous impact on clients and employees.

Our “why” – Make it mean something.

It sounds simple, and in some aspects it is; but when a company implements a carefully crafted mantra into every aspect of its labor, the result is a staff that’s collectively hip to the same inspiration—an invaluable trait, not to mention a weapon competitors fear as much as they envy.

Discovering your “why” isn’t as easy as it first may seem. Shooting from the hip may result in an off-strategy approach, confusion among employees, and even criticism—external or otherwise. Here are three questions that can help you begin to pin down your “why.”


  • What do you do?

This one’s easy. What line of work are you in?


  • How do you do it?

Specifically, how do you operate? What steps do you take to ensure your company’s providing a positive work culture while meeting financial goals? If workplace culture isn’t currently a priority, head on over to our blog on how culture extends beyond the workplace.


  • Why do you do what you do?

Okay—this one can be tough to answer. Try thinking back to when you first broke into the industry. What drew you to your industry? If you’re in a different industry than when you were 22, what made you change? Spend a little bit of time on this one.

It’s also worth thinking about who benefits from your company’s work and how you’d like to be perceived by that group. Image is paramount to successfully marketing a brand. Step back and ask yourself if your desired image aligns with how others perceive you.

Want to find your why? Got some thoughts rolling? Jot them down below for a free consultation.


Plus, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Find Your Why: Inspired Company, Inspired Growth and Company Culture

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: Inspired Company, Inspired Growth and Company Culture

If you have a LinkedIn account, you’ve probably seen a version of the encounter below show up in your feed:

Inspired Company Growth

It’s a fairly simple premise: if you invest time and resources in your employees, it will pay dividends. Failure to do so leads to unmotivated individuals who may not be in a position to further advance their skills. And in turn, the company itself, being only as strong as its employees, can’t grow.

But what does being an inspired company mean? And how does a positive company culture lead to growth and innovation? And can it make work fun, or at the very least, rewarding?

We’ve had the opportunity to work closely with HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company. We’ve learned quite a bit with regards to digital marketing, content marketing and business development in the time we’ve spent working with their team and learning the ins-and-outs of the platform. It’s definitely been rewarding.

In a recent article, HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan discussed his approach to hiring and building a particular kind of culture.

“As the years passed, Halligan and co-founder Dharmesh Shah put more thought into fostering a positive company culture that Halligan said would attract the kinds of employees they wanted, while repelling those they didn’t.”

The article also talks about their annual Inbound conference and how, despite their claim that they lose money on the event, it’s still worth the cost. That’s because it can convince people to use the HubSpot platform. It can also be a Launchpad to attract top job candidates and maintain a position as the leader in inbound marketing.

Another line that stood out:

“Now, the nearly 900 employees of HubSpot, which are largely in the millennial generation, feel a sense of ownership in the company because of its commitment to transparency and trust.”

That’s a big selling point as the job candidate pool continues to crave more of a connection to their careers than just a simple 9-to-5 grind. It’s a massive shift from simply running to the place offering the biggest paycheck.

And it has translated into business success as well. The Inbound conference had just fewer than 3000 attendees in its first year, but three years later, they’re expecting more than 13,000 marketers to attend. And with more than $115 million in revenue for 2014, they seem to be doing okay financially. Happy customers, happy employees. Seems like a win-win.


We’re always available to chat. And if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Find Your Why: How company culture goes beyond the workplace

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: How company culture goes beyond the workplace

When we think about work culture and environment, we allude to a spectrum of physical spaces ranging from fluorescent-lit cubicle containers to spacey, renovated warehouses with concrete floors and ill-placed lamps. But office aesthetics are but a crumb of the entire company culture cake.

Most of us spend the majority of our lives at the office. Sometimes we seem to forget that. There, we succeed gloriously and fail miserably—bask in contentment and writhe in resentment. Whether we love or loathe our jobs, workplace culture plays a major role.

In fact, the best employers in the U.S. say their greatest tool is culture. The attached article from Fortune notes three major trends.

First, because the “best employer” surveyors have used the same methodology and judging criteria for twenty some odd years, they determined that the best workplaces are getting even better—which sounds super arbitrary, but bear with me. The average amount of training for managers and professionals has increased 80% from 1998. Additionally, data from the surveyors’ Trust Index (which is exactly what it sounds like) indicates that the “happiest employees” are happier and more loyal than ever.

Second, business leaders use culture as a competitive tool in order to mutually benefit the company and its employees. So happier employees make a company more lucrative? Who woulda thunk it? It certainly makes sense. If an employee feels that he or she is under appreciated, merely spinning wheels, or worse, both—he or she may produce work of lower quality.

Third, the best workplaces have leaders who listen to their employees and implement distinctive programs that are relevant to the modern business world. Certain programs alone can instill a sense of culture. Whether it’s an intricate workshop or a simple office ritual like, oh, I don’t know, having a beer or two together at the end of each week. That’s what we do here at G/L, and let me tell you, I’m feeling the culture.

Sometimes it’s as simple as sharing an understanding of the basis of work done in the office. Why do you do what you do? What’s the purpose of your work? These questions are often overlooked in the corporate world. Routine slays passion, and without passion, brands become stale.

We’ve quoted Simon Sinek countless times: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Want to hear more about how we maintain our workplace culture? Give us a call—or better yet, stop by Friday around 4pm. We’ll tell you all about it.


Regardless, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Why Storytelling in Media Relations Matters

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Why Storytelling in Media Relations Matters

As of January 2013, there were more than 600,000 restaurants in the United States. With so much competition, how does one stand out from the pack?

The first option is paid media or marketing.

Television spot during a Cardinals game – $500-$2,500

Radio spot during primetime commute – $1,000-$3,000

Prominent Highway Billboard (per month) – $1,500-$5,000

You get the idea.

Advertising is necessary, but expensive. And don’t think for a second the restaurant down the street isn’t looking into the same methods.

So how do you make your business different? How do you effectively reach your targets and make them remember you? That is where public relations, or earned media, comes into play.

When a public relations professional first approaches a pitch, they are focused on one thing: storytelling. There may be more than 600,000 restaurants in the United States, but each one has a brand story. The key is figuring out what that story is.

Here are five tips for identifying an effective brand story:

1) Stop trying to sell

You aren’t mining for the brand story behind your business simply to drive sales. Sure, that is the end goal, but with brand storytelling there is so much more that goes along with it. You want to engage customers. You want them to remember you. Next time they are thinking about going to an Italian restaurant for dinner, you want them to think of the restaurant they read about in the newspaper that has been run by the same family for three generations.

2) Know your client

This is a big one. Nothing is more frustrating for a client than hiring someone to work on PR that isn’t willing to put in the work to find out about your company. It is not enough for someone trying to write a pitch to simply know the basics. It takes digging and asking questions to find that story that is going to grab a journalist’s and the audience’s attention.

3) Know your audience

Just as important as knowing your client, you need to know your audience. Who does the client want to target? What publications are you pitching this to? There may be one story, but there is more than one way to tell it so that it hits the target.

4) Be relatable

What is the point of telling a story if it isn’t one that people are interested in? It is probably not advantageous to talk about the billionaire that added this restaurant to his portfolio. No. This is not a story that people are interested in. This is not a story that is going to make customers want to experience what you have to offer. Make it a personal, relatable story.

HINT: If the brand story that you create is something that customers can mention in casual conversation, you’ve nailed it.

5) Be newsworthy

This is more important in the drafting of a pitch than in the storytelling, but it is certainly still an element of effective storytelling. Create a story that makes sense in the world. Find out what your target audience is talking about, and mine for a story that aligns with that. This also makes it easier for a journalist to take what you are offering and turn it into something more than a mention on page 10.

Does brand storytelling sound a bit like journalism? Well, it should. Developing your story takes some digging, but once you find it, have some fun with it! Take advantage of the opportunity to give your customers an inside look at your business. Tell your story and I guarantee they will remember you.

We know your brand has a story to tell. Let us help you find it.

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Trending from G/L: Does YouTube have a legitimate online video competitor in Vessel?

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Does YouTube have a legitimate online video competitor in Vessel?

Since 2006, YouTube has been the go-to site for online video streaming and in the past decade, the attempt to throw YouTube from its streaming throne has been feeble at best. Sites such as Vimeo, yfrog (yeah, it does video, too) and Flickr exist, but simply can’t boast the multitude of traffic YouTube can. With high traffic comes a strong marketing presence, so how can anyone expect to compete with the ad-logged, Google-owned giant?

Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar believes he has an answer in Vessel, a new video hosting service that offers early access to new releases for just $3 per month. So how does Vessel gain early access to highly sought vids? By offering higher pay to top creators who agree to post to Vessel first.

YouTube stars make their cash from marketers that advertise before their videos. In turn, YouTube gets paid, and the video creator gets a cut.

Felix Kjellberg, also known by his YouTube moniker, PewDiePie, reportedly earned $7 million dollars making videos in 2014. The guy has nearly 38 million followers and 9 billion views—that’s more than Taylor Swift.

How’d Kjellberg get famous? Playing video games and hollering at the screen, of course. As it turns out, Kjellberg’s gamer-style antics attract the youth and young adult market. As young people watch less and less cable television, marketers have fewer and fewer qualms spending dough online.

So if Vessel officials could convince the likes of Kjellberg to transfer from YouTube, they’d pull a chunk of viewership as well, right? Theoretically, with each subscriber jumping the YouTube ship would bring $3 a month to Vessel.

That means if just half of Kjellberg’s subscribers were to sign up with Vessel and pay for early access, Vessel would gross close to $60,000,000 monthly from subscriptions alone. Accounting for outdated, underwhelmed, or accidental subscribers, bringing half of Kjellberg’s following is a lofty goal—maybe even unrealistic. But this example indicates the absurd amount of money that can be made by, with, and from these online video stars.

Anna Akana, a 25-year-old comedian with 1.2 million subscribers, is already on board with Vessel. According to an interview with NPR, YouTube takes about half of Akana’s revenue from advertisements.

“YouTube revenue has been tanking… I’m making 20 times more with Vessel for doing the same amount of work, if not less, than with YouTube,” Akana said.

It appears Vessel is doing exactly what needs to be done to compete with YouTube—headhunt top earners by offering a pay bump they can’t refuse.

While I find it hard to believe that Vessel, or anyone else, can replace YouTube entirely, I predict it’s only a matter of time before someone finds a comfortable spot in the “premium” online video hosting niche.

And yes, I realize “premium online video” is a bit of an oxymoron in itself, but that’s where we’re at these days.

The online video landscape has been changing dramatically in recent years. Want to make sure you’re not falling behind? Contact us and we’ll be happy to chat.

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Trending from G/L: Hiring an Advertising Agency the Right Way

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Hiring an Advertising Agency the Right Way

The processes that companies use to find an advertising agency have evolved dramatically over the past few decades. The standard requests for proposals (RFP) are sill around, but with some brands working with multiple agencies, as well as freelancers and internal marketers, the landscape has become infinitely more complicated. Agencies of record still matter, but project work is everywhere.

Despite all of this, a strong agency partnership fosters trust and paves a path for high-quality strategic, creative work to emerge. That path can start with the agency selection process. While that process can be arduous, making it as streamlined and conducive to finding the right fit is worth it.

Argentum Strategy Group recently published a case study for choosing the right creative agency and we were fortunate enough to be indirectly mentioned.

In the case study, a business-to-business technology brand was searching for an agency to help differentiate their message and grow their local awareness. They took a number of critical steps to determine a budget, vet selected agencies based on selected criteria, and rate each agency in an unbiased manner. In this case, the client XIOLINK chose Geile/Leon as their agency.

Working with Susan Silver and the team at Argentum gave us the opportunity to meet with, and eventually, work with the client on an ongoing basis. They do a fantastic job of bringing together the right clients and the right agencies to find a strategic fit. And from an agency perspective, we found the search process valuable and inclusive.

Our approach to new business in general has evolved for the better over the course of more than 25 years in business. But our commitment to helping brands grow is still at the heart of everything we do. If you have a marketing challenge, let us help you solve it. We’re up for it.

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