The 3 Secret Ingredients of World-Class Organizations

In an increasingly noisy world, world-class social purpose organizations know that to really make a lasting impression they must harness 3 critical disciplines: Focus, Clarity, and Bravery.
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In an increasingly noisy world, world-class social purpose organizations know that to really make a lasting impression they must harness 3 critical disciplines: Focus, Clarity, and Bravery.

As you refine your organization’s strategy and move into planning your marketing initiatives, think about how you can leverage these 3 concepts to guide and improve your behaviors, choices, and actions.



It can be easy to fall into the trap of “more is better.” More marketing emails, more pressure to create impact, more revenue to keep your organization running. Don’t let these habits dictate your marketing strategy.

With marketing, less is often more. Focus on what works for you, and do it better. Spend more time on fewer initiatives, and commit to creating change more effectively than you ever have.

This year, pick that one big project you’ve been putting off and make a pledge to not only get it done, but to knock it out of the park. Say no to the 10 other small projects vying for your attention and prioritize the important one that’s going to create lasting value.

Focus means going deeper, with more intention and consideration, rather than juggling more and more piecemealed, ad-hoc efforts. This year, we’re retiring our social media presence to focus on improving our thought leadership publication. Maybe the opposite strategy is best for your brand. Focusing on what you know leads to the best engagement with your audience and allows you to place your bets on the winning horse.

If you don’t know where to start, we’d recommend refining your Brand Strategy, revisiting your Target Audience Strategy, or your Marketing Website—in that order. These are the fundamental elements that determine the effectiveness of your brand, and until you have a strong foundation in place you’re only holding yourself back.



We live in a noisy world, and it’s only getting noisier. Clear messages rise to the top. Muddy, complex, or weak ones get lost in the noise. Apply the concept of signal versus noise to your marketing to stand out, resonate with the right people, and see real results. Before you press send on your next newsletter or launch your next campaign, ask yourself, “Is this strengthening our signal, or just introducing more noise to our audience’s lives?”

Here, the importance of a clear brand strategy gets put to the test. Brands with a strong narrative can speak more directly to their audience, with more clarity, confidence, and impact. Brands with an identity crisis don’t know who their audience is or what they value, have a weak, muddy message, and inevitably miss the mark.

This coming year, pledge to create less noise and improve the clarity of your signal.



Some organizations have the discipline to focus, few achieve meaningful clarity, and even fewer have the guts to be brave. Brave brands capture our attention, speak to our values, and create lasting relationships. They are the brands that shape the future, build a cult-like following, and reap the rewards.

In the social purpose space, bravery is core to your DNA. Nonprofits are brave to put purpose over profit, often fighting for the under-represented, or underserved. Social enterprises are brave to pioneer a path for the next wave of capitalism with a triple bottom line. Foundations and impact investors are brave to invest in organizations focused on moving humanity forward, valuing social and environment impact as equally important to financial returns.

Wherever you fit in the social purpose spectrum, look for opportunities to channel your authentic purpose into your marketing strategies and choices. Say what you think, with a polite but firm message that doesn’t compromise your core values. Ignore your critics. Focus on speaking only to your true audience, your core following, knowing you have authentic social purpose on your side. Say “No” to anything that doesn’t further your mission, support your values, or increase your impact.

Bravery requires leadership, determination, and a higher calling that brands with a social purpose must learn to embrace more fully to compete with the profit-driven giants controlling society’s attention.

Looking Ahead

These three core concepts are the secret ingredients of world class organizations. Learn to use them skillfully to create next-level engagement, motivate your audience, and further your core mission. These concepts build upon themselves. Focus leads to clarity, and clarity inspires bravery. And like all good ingredients, they are synergistic, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

As you reflect on your successes and failures and plan for the new year, think about how you can leverage focus, clarity, and bravery to build your organization’s strategy moving forward.

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