Building Optimism: The Journey to Oldcastle’s Purpose

Written by

Heather Askew |

Feb 01, 2017 · 5-minute read

BrightHouse excavated Oldcastle’s guiding principles, articulated its purpose: Optimism is the Strongest Building Material on Earth, and helped bring it to life through cultural activation. In this post we’ll talk about the various materials and deliverables we created to help bring their purpose to life from film to posters, all of which can be found on their website.

Oldcastle, North America’s largest producer of building materials, grew through acquiring thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses, many of which were family owned and led. With so many different cultures, geographies, and products, Oldcastle had a need to connect its 39,000 employees to the meaning behind the work they do every day — a rallying cry that could give them a common thread.

The best way to explain the power and potential of Oldcastle’s purpose: Optimism is the Strongest Building Material on Earth, is to watch the purpose film that we made for Oldcastle. BrightHouse believes film is the best vehicle for storytelling — it inspires and communicates with emotion like no other medium. BrightHouse films not only help connect employees to Purpose but are also an important tool for bringing employees along on the Activation journey and creating buy-in and participation. To create this important piece, we traveled to plants across the country and filmed their operations, scored an original track, and produced the film at BrightHouse.

Want to see more? Our films are up on Oldcastle’s Vimeo page.

Values Articulation
During the purpose journey we articulated Oldcastle’s values. Values are crucial because they’re behaviors that allow us to truly live our purpose. By interviewing stakeholders at every level and looking closely at the history of the organization we were able to articulate the important principles that are unique to Oldcastle, yet shared by their family of families.

  • Make safety our family business — At Oldcastle, we’re a family made of families and there’s nothing families care more about than keeping each other safe. That’s why we consider it our moral obligation to make sure our family comes home to their families at the end of each day.
  • Live on the level — We keep our word, and the word gets out. If we say it, we mean it. That’s why we’ve become a leader. Whether we’re on a site or out of sight, we do what’s right by our employees, our customers, and our communities.
  • Build Relationships — Oldcastle has grown handshake by handshake because we understand that the greatest asset of any business is its people. We’ve forged and reinforced alliances that have thrived for generations — transforming transactions into connections with mutual respect and support.
  • Deliver locally, everywhere — We’re a local business that’s located everywhere. We give our leaders local freedom and a national framework so they can make the best decisions for their businesses and their teams. Our broad network of resources supports this local entrepreneurial spirit and grows value.
  • Forge a better way — We find a way to make it work and make it work better. We constantly improve and innovate our products, services, and ourselves to exceed our customers’ expectations. Because we know the very structure of people’s lives rests on our infrastructure.

Once we uncovered their purpose and articulated Oldcastle’s values we created an activation platform with tactics to introduce the purpose to Oldcastle including the Purpose Road Show, the Headquarters Purpose Launch, Purpose Keepsake and the Purpose Manual.

Purpose Roadshow
BrightHouse collaborated with three product group CEOs to introduce purpose to their units. BrightHouse developed the high level run of show, the visual presentation, and talking points for the group CEOs, who hit the road and held several events across the country. The presentations provided a framework but allowed each of them to adapt the talking points to make purpose personal. After the launch, the visual presentation and the accompanying talking points were used by the rest of the leadership to cascade purpose across their teams.

Headquarters Purpose Launch
Following an ‘official trailer’ invitation, corporate employees were issued an admission ticket to gather like family at a nearby theatre for the ‘Atlanta Premiere’ of the film and purpose launch. It was a well-coordinated event to share the purpose and guiding principles films on the big screen and offered the CEOs a chance to explain the importance of Oldcastle’s timeless purpose. Upon returning to work inspired, each Oldcastle employee had a Optimism Box with the Blueprint booklet and building blocks waiting at their desk.

Purpose Keepsake
At the Oldcastle purpose launch road shows, participants were given an “Optimism Box.” The Optimism Box and its contents reinforced purpose and served as a guide forward. The Optimism Box included a Blueprint (Purpose Manual), building blocks, and hard hat stickers.
The outside of the box featured phrases from the purpose film scripts that particularly resonated with employees. The inside flap listed the guiding principles.

Purpose Manual
BrightHouse developed a Purpose Manual (called the Blueprint) that takes employees through the entire purpose journey and next steps: the foundational story of origin and guiding principles, Oldcastle’s purpose and what it means, and why it’s important to activate / bring purpose to life every day. 32,000 copies of the purpose manual were printed and it is also available on the Oldcastle website.

Link to view the full manual

And look for more information about our work here at BrightHouse on the blog. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest insights on purpose.

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