I recently had the pleasure of speaking to about 650 Hubspot employees at their quarterly meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For those of you not familiar with Hubspot, they are the leading provider of inbound marketing software and have almost single-handedly created and transformed the concept of inbound marketing. I use Hubspot, as do a number of my clients.
Hubspot is software—yes, it is a marketing platform, and yes, it can be transformative in helping businesses to market themselves, but at the end of the day, it’s still software. Software is not the coolest or sexiest product. Rarely have I seen people get really excited about a piece of software. Yet Hubspot has managed to create a culture built around three key ingredients that many businesses fail to ever achieve—purpose, passion, and personality. These are the three most important words in marketing.
Listening to senior Hubspot management and employees give presentations about their culture, their mission, their purpose, their goals, their dreams, and yes, their fears, what struck me was their purpose of mission, their passion for what they do, and their unwavering desire to celebrate and imbue their corporate culture with their unique and often quirky personalities. They have struck a delicate balance of being bold, ambitious, and humble.
I have worked for a number of well-known lifestyle brands over the years, and while many are clear in their purpose, some are more passionate than others, and some have unique personalities. Very few are able to combine purpose, passion, and personality and convey these three attributes to their clients in a way that makes the company irresistible and keeps people coming back for more.
Many businesses get mired in a product-centric approach and fail to grasp that it takes more than a good product to succeed. Other businesses lack the confidence and conviction of what they do. And I’ve seen other businesses that lack the leadership necessary to imbue their employees with purpose, passion, and personality and deliver these attributes consistently across all levels of the company.
In thinking about your own story and brand, take the time to ask these five essential questions
- What is the purpose of what we make or sell?
- Why do we do what we do?
- What is unique about what we do, and why do we do it better or try to do it better than our competition?
- What makes us get up in the morning excited to come to work?
- What is our corporate culture and personality, and is it reflected in the ways we deal with our clients and customers?
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, if you don’t take the time to understand your purpose, don’t feel the passion for what you do, and don’t let your unique personality shine through, you simply become another me-too business that blends into the woodwork. If Hubspot can show purpose, passion, and personality selling software, then the opportunities for brands in any industry are limitless.