Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The Purpose Onion

It's inevitable, I expect, with Purpose proliferating all over the world of marketing and business, that we should brace ourselves for a plague of Purpose Models to replace the crop of Brand Onions, which are slowly slipping off the boardroom walls and mouldering in corners.

It's over ten years since marketeers and consultants started raving about Simon Sinek and his Golden Circle. (Guilty) Although these days, I look at the Golden Circle and see it for what it is: an onion with a big "Why?" bunged in the middle.

In the past, personal development and coaching has borrowed from the world of brands and marketing. But now this field has leapt ahead (yes, I know a leaping field is a slightly tricky mental image) so far that the marketeers are borrowing back.

Here's an example of something that's been borrowed from an untranslatable Japanese concept and twisted into shape for personal development. It's just a small step from there to reapply it to a brand or a corporation. I can understand the appeal - it's not an onion, more like a lotus blossom, and has the hygge factor of an untranslatable word.

But besides the fact that brands and people are not interchangeable entities, which is my hang-up about Lovebrands and Brand Loyalty, there's another issue with these Purpose Models. Whether an onion or a lotus bloom, the thing that sits in the middle is doing just that. It's sitting, trapped, suffocating from all the layers and blah around it. Purpose should be actionable, something that directs, a navigation needle.

By the way, if I try to squeeze myself into a lotus blossom, all the petals fall apart. Probably another slightly tricky mental image.

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