An Ideal Journey: Jim Stengel’s Brand Session Kicks Off LPK’s Quest For Our Own Ideal Tree

26 Jan 2012
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While Advertising Age recently called him the “high priest of purpose-driven marketing,” we’re happy to call Jim Stengel our neighbor at LPK, where he’s been working since his days as Procter & Gamble’s global marketing officer ended. While Jim was hard at work on his new book, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies, for the past few years, our organization was on its own journey. I anticipated that at some point our two paths could intersect. I’m happy to say that LPK and Grow’s intersection is taking place in the form of a Brand Ideal session with Stengel this Friday at the LPK Brand Innovation Center.

This half-day session is the start of a journey in which LPK, where I have the honor of serving as Chief Creative Officer, will build out our own Ideal Tree—as created, illustrated and shared throughout the pages of Grow. During our time together Friday, Jim will delve into the Ideal Tree and its elements, leading into a breakout session where LPK Managers explore the leaves of the Tree as they relate to LPK; this output will serve as fodder for LPK’s own Ideal Tree.

Over the next few months I’ll be blogging our progress as LPK addresses the Ideal Tree and its five leaves. We’ll need to address truths about ourselves and what needs to happen for us to successfully convey those truths. It’s a discussion that will require us to make tough choices. Stengel’s five leaves are designed to help us through the process:

Leaf 1: Discover an Ideal in One of Five Fields of Fundamental Human Values

Our first leaf will help us determine where LPK’s Ideal links to one of Grow’s Fundamental Human Values: eliciting joy, enabling connectedness, evoking pride, impacting society and inspiring exploration. Aligning to one ideal means we’ll have to try it on, share it and make sure that it lives in our DNA, as Jim discusses (p. 113): “inspiring us, impacting lives, and helping us evolve.”

Leaf 2: Build Your Culture Around Your Ideal

LPK’s 300+ employees have built and maintained a tremendous creative culture. Having our managers with us on this journey will help us tap into that culture, ensuring that it and our Ideal are in lockstep.

Leaf 3: Communicate Your Ideal to Engage Employees and Customers

Communication is the linchpin to a healthy organization. As a company that prides itself on listening to the desires of people around the world, we will turn those skills inward.

Leaf 4: Deliver a Near-Ideal Customer Experience

An ideal customer experience is what our clients want their goods to deliver. We must make sure that our organization is able to bring experience of our Ideal to our clients, connecting with each one on a personal level.

Leaf 5: Evaluate Your Progress and People Against Your Ideal

Our Ideal must be at the heart of what we do. Once established, we’ll need to continually check ourselves against the standard of our Ideal.

I know the next few months will prove difficult. Introspection can be emotional and messy. Unguided, it can be pointless. Not to mention the failure rate for organizations who attempt cultural change (and following Stengel’s outline will require us to swallow a large dose of change). I’m hoping that if we can open ourselves up to that journey, we won’t just be able to show you the happy end of a brand ideal, but we’ll illustrate, in-depth, the hard work it will take to reach it.

More on this journey after the session.