“Authenticity” is one of those tricky words in corporate America. The purpose of a business is to generate profit, which means that all decisions and strategies intend to serve that mission.
For a long time, that felt contradictory to the concept of authenticity -- the idea that yes, we’re trying to sell a service or product, but we genuinely believe in the core truths of what we’re doing.
It’s a particularly resonant challenge for advertising firms like David & Goliath, which has to promote not only its own authenticity, but also that of the brands it represents.
The firm’s CEO David Angelo, sat down with us and Matt Emerzian to discuss his nonprofit, Every Monday Matters. EMM focuses on helping people understand who they are, why they matter and what they can do to better themselves and the world on a daily basis.
David Angelo’s corporate model was built upon being brave, going up against your fears and being true to yourself, so when he found matt’s organization he loved how the message intertwined with his own.
Building a foundation of authenticity “starts with a firm belief in who the brand is and what they stand for, whether it’s a person, organization, company, bar of soap, social movement -- once you have that truth of who you are, you create a blueprint,” David said.
Incorporating EMM into company programming and internal communications has proven groundbreaking for the firm from top to bottom, encouraging genuine personal empowerment on an individual level.
The programming is expertly deployed through digital signage, effectively reaching people throughout each and every day.
But giving the team the space to make those changes was a largely unorthodox move. Most businesses remain rigidly attached to its existing job positions, so bringing Matt’s team into the fold was a bit of a unique decision.
In essence, the EMM team has carved out its own department: It’s not technically human resources, and it’s also not squarely corporate comms.
By allowing Every Monday Matters the freedom to develop, instead of constraining the conversation to “Well, this is how we do things,” the team has been able to revolutionize certain aspects of the firm.
Just as importantly, it’s inspired leadership to look at themselves more closely and ask themselves what the company really stands for and how their own role serves that larger purpose.
A brand vision “has to be led by C-suite who believe in living an authentic life,” David said. “Boil it all the way down, if our goal is to help serve the brand, it shouldn’t be to control the brand. It’s to help the brand live its truth.”
Authenticity can’t be faked; it has to start from within. Employees who feel valued and inspired put that positive energy into creating a business that others find valuable and inspiring.
Clients and customers are intuitive -- they can sense when a company believes in its vision. When you make real internal changes to promote that vision, you’ll start to truly see those results unfold.