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To be effective marketers, businesses must ask themselves who they are and what drives them. For marketing virtuoso and former Airbnb chief marketing officer Jonathan Mildenhall, the answers to these questions define a business’s purpose.

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Defining a clear purpose is no mere intellectual exercise, Mildenhall believes. It is a competitive necessity that guides businesses during bad times as well as good times. It is also critically important for individuals, who must consider both the needs of their current employers and the legacies they want to leave behind.


It all starts with defining a compelling company or brand purpose that transcends the business model and reaches into culture.”

 

Translate Purpose Into Effective Marketing

Mildenhall has extensive experience helping brands define their purpose and translate it into effective marketing. Before joining Airbnb, he served as a vice president, then senior vice president, at the Coca-Cola Company.

While the two companies are very different, the 131-year-old Coca-Cola and 9-year-old Airbnb are both true to their brand purpose, Mildenhall told a 2017 gathering at Airbnb’s European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Coca-Cola sees itself as “the antidote to modern-day woes,” he said, while Airbnb markets “a world in which 7.5 billion people can belong anywhere.”

Purposes that can be articulated clearly and quickly by anyone within an organization are no less important to senior-focused businesses and the individuals who work for them, Mildenhall said.

 

 

A Storytelling Culture

“It all starts with defining a compelling company or brand purpose that transcends the business model and reaches into culture,” he said. “Then you need to inspire all stakeholders around that thinking through creative storytelling. Finally, and this is particularly important for senior living businesses, you must engage your community and have them collaborate on the marketing and storytelling agenda.”

Purpose-driven marketing is also invaluable to senior living businesses looking to recruit and retain talented staff who have their own values and purposes. In fact, it may be even more important for senior-oriented businesses than for other businesses to show that their purpose and values are compatible with those of their employees and prospective employees.

Tackling the Power of Purpose at #Argentum18

Jonathan Mildenhall will elaborate on the power of purpose at the 2018 Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference in San Diego, May 14-16.
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