What is the biggest marketing challenge faced by most brands today? Thomas Cumberbatch believes it is a lack of identity.

Cumberbatch, the Founder and Creative Director of Godzspeed Communications, suggests that organizations and businesses, just as people do, must first answer the question “Who am I?” before they can present themselves with confidence in the world. “Figure out who you are,” Cumberbatch said to a room full of social entrepreneurs and leaders of purpose driven organizations at SOCAP18, “and, out of that will come all the solutions.”

Far beyond creating an identity, Cumberbatch believes brands should have soul–an idea he has built his entire business around. Godzspeed has developed steps to capture the spirit of a brand through a documented process “Soul Guide.” Because Godzspeed is focused on serving brands that do good, JB Media Founder Justin Belleme invited Cumberbatch to be a part of his panel of industry experts speaking on the topic of marketing and branding for social impact organizations at the 2018 SOCAP conference. Here are some of the insights Cumberbatch shared during the session.

Brands are not just Logos and Colors

We help brands to lead from their ravishing raison d’etre. At the end of the day, one thing that really gets us excited at Godzspeed is purpose. What we help brands really understand is that your purpose needs to connect in ways that are persuasive and emotive. In doing that, we help brands be bold, meaningful, and influential.

We believe that brands are not just logos and colors, but that every aspect of your organization or business is a reflection of who you are. That’s really what your brand is. We help our clients understand that—and show them how to connect holistically on all levels.

The idea of a brand having a soul is really the nucleus of how we think at Godzspeed. Identity is something that drives every decision that we make. Over the past few years we’ve developed this product called the Soul Guide. It’s a 60 to 70 page book that has everything a business or brand needs to know about themselves.

It isn’t just focused on profits, price, and square footage. It’s focused on what motivates the people driving the brand, who the people inside of the company or the organization are, and, how that driving force, that passion, that raison d’etre is communicated with their target audience.

The Utility of a Brand Bible

What that Soul Guide does is it positions everything the brand does. It helps them make decisions at every level: in a C-Suite meeting; if they need to create a new website; if they want to shoot a brand film; if they want to create a campaign. All the information necessary to communicate and to keep the brand on track is in this Soul Guide. It’s a brand bible.

The Soul Guide has helped us create compelling content for our clients over the years, and give them razor sharp clarity.

When we ask our partners and clients to explain who they are at the beginning of our process they deliver a dissertation that takes 20 minutes. What’s really special is that by the end of the Soul Guide process they can distill it in three words.

If you look at the work that we did with the Center for Social Enterprise Development in Ottawa, you’ll see that there’s three words that really lead the entire project. Those three words are ‘We all profit.’ They’re an organization that helps social enterprises grow and express themselves. What they needed was a rallying cry. We all profit. Those three words have transformed the organization. That came out of the Soul Guide process.

That’s where everything that we do starts. We’re a full service branding and creative firm that understands the power of art. Artists are the prophets of community. We merge strategy, meaning, love, care, and art to tell more engaging brand stories.

Why You Need to Figure Out Who You Are

I think the biggest human problem is, “I don’t know who I am.” In business school we’re taught that you have to have a problem and solution when starting out. I say, start with the biggest problem. I don’t know who I am. Figure out who you are. Out of that will come all the solutions.

I think that when you ask, How does the brand building process fit into the idea? that it all that starts with who you are. Only then will you understand who you should be delivering your service or product to. You’ll understand what your internal culture should be, what your impact to community should be, and what your price point should be. All of that comes out of Who am I?

Learn More

This is one of a series of posts that feature insights from industry experts on the topic of marketing and branding for social impact organizations, taken from the session that JB Media Founder Justin Belleme curated and moderated at SOCAP18.

If you lead a purpose driven company and want to get more expert advice on social impact marketing, please read the other articles in this series:

Watch the entire session focused on Marketing and Branding for Social Impact Organizations, recorded live at SOCAP18.