Return On Inspiration: The Better ROI


Is your company all in on inspiration?  

If you’re looking for an unbeatable ROI, we recommend investing in inspiration - and holding for the long term. Because brands that inspire pay dividends. They give consumers something worth supporting, following and believing in.

More and more brands reflect our personal worlds. They’re an extension of our identities and a marker of where we belong and what we stand for. Brands that stand for something give consumers something to stand alongside - and create a relationship that’s beyond the transactional. And if consumers are in it for more than the money, brands should be too.

Brands that put inspiration first are the brands that will be with us in the future. Because when you inspire, you motivate rather than manipulate. And when you motivate, individuals, groups and entire communities will walk with you as far as you plan to go.

Here’s why taking an inspire first approach creates brands that last.

Inspiration is the root of innovation.

When you’re a brand that stands for more than quarterly performance, entire new spaces open up to you. You can focus on creating meaningful products or experiences. Ones that reflect and express your brand and its ethos - and by extension your supporters.

And because your brand’s supporters share your goals, values and insights, you can use that knowledge to build something that they want and need. Something that solves their problems, that fills a very real gap.

Take cosmetics brand Nubian Heritage, which produces beauty products that draw on traditional African recipes and remedies. Not only does it recognize the heritage of its products, but it continues that heritage with community commerce and investments into Ghana-based women’s cooperatives, who become both partners and suppliers to the business. It’s an innovative business model that reflects the brand’s beliefs.

When inspiration is the underpinning force of what you do, you can devote time and resources to truly innovative approaches - and not just the incremental ones that keep shareholders happy, but don’t offer much beyond that.

Inspiring brands attract and retain better talent.

Top talent is famously difficult to find and keep, and brands that inspire not only resonate more with their consumers, they become sought after by the best and brightest, all of whom are driven to participate in a brand narrative that has meaning to them.

Take 3M, which has recently rocketed to the top of the most sought-after companies for Millennials. Once best known for its Post-Its and Scotch Tape, the company has pulled ahead of even Google and Apple thanks to its “Applied to Life” approach, which showcases the positive and widespread impact of its products on the world. This, combined with its presence at tech conferences, has made it hugely popular with STEM workers wanting to put their science skills to good use in the world.

And then there’s Quicken Loans, which moved into Detroit in 2013 with the goal of doing more than just business. Its arrival marked a program of urban renewal - which the company facilitated with a buy-up of ailing real estate and gentrification initiatives. This kind of big picture thinking extends throughout the company, which boasts an impressively low turnover rate and is consistently voted as a top place to work. 

When your purpose is greater than just your bottom line, you’ll attract employees who see their own worth in more than just dollar signs - and who’ll stick around as you grow together.

Inspiring brands are investor friendly.

Being able to attract and retain great staff is a reflection of a company’s overall culture - a positive culture facilities cohesion, collaboration and a shared outlook. And when a team of talented people is working towards a common goal great things happen. So it’s unsurprising to learn that there’s a link between company culture and stock prices. Not only that, but the brands that resonate with consumers are the ones making waves when it comes to those much-lauded IPOs. 

A few years back the beloved micro-blogging platform Tumblr was bought for a massive $1.1b. With 550 million monthly users generating 129.7 billion posts, and its reputation for spawning viral memes, it’s not hard to see why. Similarly, relative newcomer Snapchat is valued at as much as $25b - a figure arrived at partly from how quickly it’s become utterly indispensable to its young user base, along with its clout as a marketing platform. 

A brand that inspires doesn’t just have users - it has fans. Fans who become ambassadors for that brand, spreading the word and recruiting other fans. The commitment and fervor of those individuals is a positive in the eyes of investors, who value growth and longevity as key factors when assessing the market value of a brand. Inspiring brands don’t stagnate or slip. They have a trajectory that trends upward.

Inspiring brands make more money.

An inspirational mindset drives innovation - but it also requires commitment. And that’s a good thing. Because when you’re committed you can go further and effect greater change, resulting in more growth and often business success. 

Take natural and organic retailer Whole Foods, built upon what its CEO and founder John McKay calls “Conscious Capitalism”. The approach involves doing business in a way that’s ethical across all elements of its supply chains, and it’s worked. The brand has grown into a Fortune 500 Company with more than 400 stores and 87,000 staff around the world - and is considered a “Most Admired Company” by Fortune. 

And then there’s TOMS Shoes, a leader in cause marketing. With a business model that involves donating a pair of shoes for every pair bought, it’s leveraged word of mouth to grow into a $300m business in six years. But even with 300% year-on-year growth, the company’s founder highlights the importance of staying true to your mission, having doubled down on the company’s mission when the siren call of its aggressive sales targets became too much.

Ultimately, it’s the why behind your brand that inspires, not the zeroes on your bottom line. And truly inspiring brands get that - and won’t lose sight of their mission no matter how tempting prospect.

Creating, supporting and leveraging that inspiration will lead to consumer trust, brand growth and employee retention. And if you continue to invest in it over time you’ll have a portfolio that’ll beat the market - and a legacy others will be inspired to invest in. Because the return on an investment into inspiration is one that compounds at much greater rate than one into dollar signs alone.

Inspiration creates brands with legacies.

The great brands out there are the ones that choose to inspire. They’re about something, they’re for something, and they use that as the beacon to guide them in everything that they do. When you build an inspirational brand, you build a halo around that brand - one that draws people to it. 

And to draw people to you, you need to stand apart. Being inspirational involves taking risks, trying new things and being unafraid to test the waters. It’s not about being perfect and idealized. Because perfection is forgettable - and questionable. As Virgin’s Richard Branson warns, brands that fall into the perfection trap “acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”

But the ones that are bold, genuine and true to themselves create a legacy that extends far beyond the products they offer.

Take a look at all the great brands out there, and you’ll find one thing in common. They don’t sell things. They stand for things.The brands of the future will be the ones with purpose and ambition to inspire the world. When you stand for something, you inspire. Aspire to inspire first and foremost, and you’ll create something far greater and wider-reaching than you ever could have imagined. 

  • Subscribe to RSS feed
  • Like Us

  • Tweeter
  • Contact Us