Putting Purpose and Color to Work in Business Transformation

Written by

Mike Lear Executive Creative Director, North America |

Jan 15, 2021 · 4-minute read

Every year, Pantone chooses colors from their expansive rainbow that foretell what our coming year might bring. It sets a tone. Establishes an ideal. And I want to thank Pantone, personally, for choosing colors from our company palette.

For more than 25 years, BrightHouse has been represented by yellow and gray and all that these colors stand for. So to be formally recognized, is such an honor! I’m certain Pantone took one look at the changes we’re helping companies make in the world and thought, “Ah, yes, here is the inspiration for the colors of 2021.” Forget the fact that we use Pantone 123, and they chose 13-0647. Minor details. We’re sure it was intentional.

Okay, so maybe it was a coincidence.

Regardless, it was an invigorating moment for our teams. As Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman said of these colors, “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. “

Our Purpose, “Discover true light in the world” is embodied in our colors. But when it comes to Purpose, brand colors, design, and image are not enough. Color – though mysterious and wonderful – is topical. Purpose must penetrate the surface of a company and impact their philosophy, operations, actions. It must be cultivated and implanted over time using strategic and creative tools.

Take for example organizational transformations. They’re often exciting, but they can also be destabilizing and confusing. Along with changing strategies and reassignment of roles, the new ideas and systems put in place can be daunting without a guiding force.

But when Purpose informs a transformation, the change is led with intention, resolve, and hope. And it’s undeniable that purpose-driven transformations are more successful than when Purpose is left off the table.

To begin, Purpose must be clearly articulated using language deeply researched and brought forth from the company’s leaders and employees. You’ll notice I say “brought forth.” As a former ad guy, I can tell you, we don’t just “come up with” your Purpose. You already have it, but it hasn’t been identified and clearly stated yet. This stage alone takes a deft pen.

Articulating an authentic Purpose creates a fundamental mind shift, moving the company from trying to please shareholders to pleasing stakeholders. Or as Martin Reeves of the BCG Bruce Henderson Institute puts it, “…a shift from a mechanistic to a more humanistic view of the corporation.” At times, this philosophical correction causes no small amount of indigestion with our C-level friends.

But it works. Purpose benefits the complex business systems at work where outcomes are shaped by interactions among members. Which is a far greater driver of long-term success than the pursuit of the highest possible short-term returns.

From there, an embed strategy must be employed to entrench the Purpose Principles and cascade them through the entire organization.

And when a transformation is approached through Purpose holistically – if the journey’s leader, its people, and the program are managed together – it creates much more value.

But once articulated, Purpose must be put it into action. A Purpose that isn’t activated is just words on a page. But when our clients make purpose-driven bold commitments and share them with the world, they’re laying proof on the table, inspiring not just the public to do business with them, but aligning the entire organization to better perform.

At BrightHouse, we’ll keep working with rigor and insight to shine our yellow light of Pantone 123. Because when a situation is illuminated, and a company’s Purpose is clearly articulated and embedded across the entire organization, they’ll have more clarity and alignment. And with an authentic Purpose, their foundational principles are not just absorbed and understood, they’re woven into the very fabric of daily decision making.

And this is where we find our joy. Seeing companies grow and prosper, led by Purpose.

So to all, let’s continue to work hard to spread true light and positivity, using the bright yellow of 2021 to illuminate and spring forward from our solid gray foundations.

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