PR professionals often cringe at the jargon of our marketing colleagues. "Brand purpose" was one such term that initially struck me as stilted. But then I had an epiphany after the most-recent spree of mass shootings plaguing the country.
It came while I was listening to a presentation about "movement marketing" by Scott Goodson, the founder of Northwell Health’s new movement, branding, advertising and transformation company StrawberryFrog. Organizations that advocate for a movement can become culturally relevant beyond their own industry, Goodson says.
When I first heard him speak on the topic, Northwell Health had just started a campaign supporting our CEO’s conviction that gun violence is a public health crisis directly affecting us as a healthcare institution.
The idea was simple; convince other healthcare executives to raise their voices — and the power of a $3.5 trillion industry — nationally to lobby for common-sense gun legislation. The idea grew from personal letters into a full-blown initiative encompassing op-eds, media interviews and advertising.
The campaign struck a positive chord with the vast majority of our constituents and the news and social media amplified the story. Shortly afterward, 145 CEOs from varied industries including retail, technology, financial services — most with less of a direct tie to gun violence than healthcare providers — signed a letter urging the Senate to pass gun control legislation.
That letter, along with a proclamation in mid-August from 181 CEOs on the Business Roundtable, sparked a conversation and movement within the C-Suite around "the purpose of a corporation" and communications pros are invariably being asked to weigh in.
Taking an aggressive stand against gun violence is not only a worthwhile endeavor, but also consistent with our mission to improve the health of communities.
Healthcare organizations need to be change agents, especially when it comes to issues affecting public health.