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How do you make getting your employees to live out your brand and culture a “want-to-do” instead of a “supposed-to-do” for your team? Ruth Lund, President of the Legacy Center, Meghan Lynch, CEO of Six-Point Creative, and Ken Meyers, founder of the Smartfood brand, discuss how to successfully develop a culture of advocacy instead of a culture of compliance.

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Robert Glazer

Meghan Lynch

Ruth Lund

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Ken points out that if something is pushing down to a group of internal stakeholders, employees, partners, vendors, it is less likely to be absorbed and embraced than if it’s something that everybody has had a hand in developing.

“If people can feel even a shred of ownership in something that is meant for them to follow, it becomes a want-to-do, as opposed to a supposed-to-do. Supposed-to-do things are rarely a hundred percent right. Want-to-do things are much more likely to get to universal application,” Meyers explains.

This engagement and ownership is extremely valuable when you are trying to create a brand that is nurtured and sustained by a culture that is aligned with the messaging a company is trying to get the rest of the world to embrace.

Often visionaries create companies with a mission that is so important and so meaningful to them that sometimes they forget that the process of buy-in means letting other people into that vision.

This doesn’t mean that the company turns into a democracy where everyone has a say in what the vision of the company should be. That would undermine the clarity and consistency needed for effective brand and culture building. Instead, it means allowing other people to take the vision and look at it from their perspective or their role in the company or as a customer. When companies and brands can achieve that kind of co-creation and co-ownership, the relationship becomes much stronger.