We do. So you can create.

July 17, 2018

By John Berkley

Brand. Brand purpose. Corporate DNA. Reputation. Mission, vision, values.

Some of the most interesting conversations marketing teams engage in are focused on these topics.

And some of the greatest confusion about these topics often dominates these conversations.

I like to think that Cast & Crew is an exception to that observation. The fact is, there has always seemed to be internal consensus – well, maybe not consensus but certainly clarity – about who we are.

  • Focused on customer service.
  • Legacy of working collaboratively with customers.
  • Strong moral and ethical compass extending across all levels of the company.
  • Fun place to work.
  • Second family for a lot of team members.

Our Quality. Integrity. Security. value statement has served us well through the years because it is easily understood – and because it is credible. So, too, is the subtle change we made last year in our logo (see July 17, 2017 post), pixelating part of our iconic filmstrip to underline our movement into digital solutions.

Since that time, we have talked a great deal internally about how we are seen. And, while recognizing the importance of describing what we do, we have chosen to focus our attention on the concept of brand purpose and the task/opportunity of discussing who we are as a company and not just what we do.

The discussion has been robust and rewarding. We’ve realized that talking about who you are doesn’t prevent the “what-you-do” piece from being part of the discussion. Instead, it actually provides a really interesting context for the broader approach.

And that’s not solely for our external stakeholders, it’s important internally as well.

I see it this way: For people to be passionate about their work, they need to be part of something bigger than themselves. We are the Cast & Crew for our customers. We help them get their jobs done.

Earlier this year, we put our corporate toe in the water by adopting a new concept – “enabling great content” – to begin to define who we are. This phrase clearly was more in line with brand purpose than it was with any of those concepts described in my opening paragraph.

Graham Kenny, managing director of Strategic Factors, a Sydney-based consultancy, went even further in a 2014 article entitled Your Company’s Purpose Is Not Its Vision, Mission, or Values.

“My advice is this,” he wrote. “To inspire your staff to do good work for you, find a way to express the organization’s impact on the lives of customers, clients, students, patients — whomever you’re trying to serve. Make them feel it.”

More recently, Cast & Crew launched its new website, prominently featuring tight “who-we-are” language simply stating the following in its first two lines:

We do.

So you can create a great

Our third line features a scroll that moves through feature, episode, pilot, series, special and documentary, some of the many productions that Cast & Crew enables with our payroll, accounting, production workflow, financial services and workers’ compensation solutions. These solutions, some of which are executed through our suite of digital products (Start+, Hours+, PSL+, PO+, Pcard+ and Studio+), enable great content, delivered efficiency and economics because production teams can focus on what they are creating – and not worry about business processes.

Customer success, ultimately, is our purpose. And because it is, “We do. So you can.” is a very clear articulation of who we are. And, interestingly, what we do is pulled through naturally as part of the message.

Allen Miller, Ben Vonwiller, and Peter Weed of McKinsey & Company, note in their 2016 article Grow fast or die slow: Focusing on customer success to drive growth, that insights learned through customer interaction have great value.

“Let your customer-success organization be the ‘learning engine’,” they state. “One hallmark characteristic of a strong customer-success organization is that customer insights are shared across the entire organization. In that way, the customer-success organization becomes the company’s ‘learning engine’—relaying their findings from the field to the sales, product, and marketing teams. This feedback loop is critical in allowing for the overall product, value proposition, and delivery model to improve.”

Finally, Clayton M. Christiansen, the renowned Harvard Business School professor, and three colleagues wrote an article more than 12 years ago that still is available on the MIT Sloan Management Review.  It drills down interestingly into purpose brands.

“When a product does a job well, it unlocks the potential for marketers to create a purpose brand,” they observe. “A purpose brand links customers’ realization that they need to do a job with a product that was designed to do it. Because (they are) associated with a clear purpose, these brands pop into customers’ minds when they need to do the jobs that these products and services were optimized to do.”

The team concludes that some of the most valuable brands today “took root” as a purpose brand.

Makes sense to us.

“We do. So you can.”

John Berkley is President at Cast & Crew Entertainment Services. He has more than 20 years of experience in leadership at software and technology companies.