Why Being Purpose-Driven and Diverse Helps Retain Clients and Employees

By Jason Swenk on December 21, 2022

Does your agency align with a purpose or cause? Are you hiring diversly to bring in different viewpoints? Today’s guest has a lot of experience working with non-profits, which is how she’s become an expert on purpose-driven marketing and recruiting, as well as avoiding natural bias in business. She shares some of the ways she implemented purposeful branding and diverse hiring in her agency to bring positive changes and grow her agency.

Lyn Wineman is a marketing veteran with over 30 years of experience with award-winning work. Her agency Kid Glov has been recognized as one of the best places to work in Lincoln, Nebraska. They are a marketing, branding, and advertising boutique agency with about 25 employees that helps clients create exceptional brand experiences. Their name goes back to taking great care of their clients, their brands, and the people within their culture.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • Where to start and how to execute a rebrand.
  • Removing bias and diversifying your team.
  • Taking on clients that align with your agency.

Sponsors and Resources

E2M Solutions: Today’s episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design and development agency that has provided white-label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.


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Podcast Takeover!!

Get to know your Smart Agency Guest Host:  Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the co-founder of Rise25, an agency that helps companies launch and run podcasts profitably. He followed Jason’s podcast and eventually joined the mastermind and has been a guest on the podcast before. Today, he’s helping Jason bring something new to the Smart Agency podcast audience by interviewing a special guest and bringing a new perspective to the show.

How to Rebrand and Get More Attention for Your Brand

In 12 years, Lyn’s agency has helped over 100 non-profits with their brand messaging and strategy. In some cases, this entails tightening up their tagline and message, while in others it goes all the way to their logo and name. Overall, non-profits with great branding tend to do better, get more recognition, and are generally easier to find.

When it comes to rebranding your business, Lyn reminds clients that no one will ever create something that is universally loved. “It’s better to be the pistachio-flavored ice cream than the vanilla ice cream that no one loves”. You can accomplish more with something a small percentage likes than something 100% of people are willing to ignore.

Where to Start When Doing a Rebrand for Your Client or Your Agency

Since they work with non-profits, Lyn and her team knew their process needs to be focused and affordable. They start with a discovery session with key leaders of the non-profit. There, they talk about what makes their brand and where they see themselves in the future. This is followed by an online survey and a competitive review. Finally, they do a brand archetype profile and create a brand strategy and positioning statement.

Next they strategize the launch plan including who they need to talk to and how. To this end, they help clients plan meetings, presentations, and parties to present this new identity to their employees, the board, top donors, partners, and finally the public. They also help with their website and anything else to ensure their name and new image are well received.

Because the process of rebranding many times includes a new name for the organization, Lyn warns clients they will get comments about how it was unnecessary to do this. People are usually comfortable with the familiar and react negatively to change. However, changes to their client’s image and branding are done as the result of a lot of studies. It’s all about thinking outside of the box and garnering attention.

How Purpose and Implied Bias Play a Role in Branding

Data shows that >70% of people nowadays want to align with brands making a positive impact in the world. This percentage is even higher when it comes to younger generations who want to work with brands that make a difference. Lyn’s agency has always had a strong focus on non-profit. With these new trends, they’re getting more and more companies come to them to create purpose-driven messaging and social impact campaigns.

Part of the challenge creating a campaign is identifying implicit biases in a message. We all have biases we may not even notice. In these cases, the first step is awareness. It requires willingness to look within and identify some of their own biases as an agency as well as the customers’ biases.

Often these beliefs are not rooted in bad faith and are just the result of our surroundings. Making an effort to improve this is not just the right thing to do. Data shows how increasing diversity and inclusion in advertising translates to more conversion and sales. It is an excellent way to build trust and relationships with your clients.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

Opening the Door to Speaking to Different Audiences

Seeing the growing interest in purpose-driven marketing, Lyn’s team now receives bias training. They also include a questionnaire as part of their onboarding to open the door to bias discussions. As for their internal operations, they have started focusing on what they can do to give back as part of their discovery process. This simple question helps identify potential causes to aligned with.

Almost every single member of her team felt they didn’t have an implicit bias, which is how people usually feel. Going through the bias training helped them realize we all have biases. Being aware of this helps open the door to positive change.

In marketing, we’re all taught to zero in on our primary audience and speak mainly to them. Bias training has helped Lyn and her team ask themselves how they can think about the audience differently and ensure they’re not just zeroing in on a 1-person audience. Instead, they focus on opening up and accepting that audiences are changing and whoever your buyer persona is today may not be so in the future.

Removing Bias and Diversifying Your Team

All this talk about biases and implementing diversity into your work with clients is meaningless unless you also make it part of your agency. Diversity in among your team leads to different points of view and often to better work. We all have different learned experiences we bring to every situation. A diverse team will certainly give you different results which is good for your agency.

For Lyn, it hasn’t been easy to achieve, but it starts with the hiring process. They changed their job descriptions and set new interviewing and hiring policies to help open these doors. For instance, instead of requiring a specific level of experience they now offer a training runway to bring in people without the experience but are otherwise a good fit. Furthermore, they’re creating an agency advisory panel with members of different cultural competencies.

Taking On Causes That Align With Your Agency Values

When you take on a cause, ask yourself is this in line with our agency’s values? Do we have something of value to add to the conversation? Will most of our clients be in agreement?

Of course, not all clients will be passionate about the same causes. However, if you’re attracting clients that are a good fit for your agency, most of them will be supportive of the cause you choose.

Three Pillars to Cultural Success

Lyn’s agency has lost just one employee over the last year. It is quite the accomplishment in the midst of “the great resignation”. It has a lot to do with how she takes care of her agency employees as her primary job. Their “Creative Nirvana Project” is focused on creating the best environment for doing creative and strategic work.

The project started with three sessions for her creative team.

  • Session 1: In the zone – is focused on questions like “what does it feel like when things are great and feels like you can’t fail?” They then analyze how that situation looks for each employee.
  • Session 2: Bummer  is not as positive but equally important. Here they ask the team to describe what it looks like when things suck. They focus on what makes a situation not great.
  • Session 3, The path – the last session focused on drawing a path asking “how do we get from where we are to where we need to be?” And “what are some quick wins and big things we can do?”

It is like such a simple principle, yet it has helped them get great feedback and be on the list of the best places to work in their state. Moving forward, they realize creative Nirvana needs to be a pillar of the whole agency and include all teams (not just creative).

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