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Three Vital Foundations of Your Brand

By Emily Soccorsy

A few days ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook had, for the first time in its short and meteoric history, set a new mission.

According to Zuckerberg, the shift to a new mission is a huge change for the organization, which he defines as a very mission-centric company.

The new mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

While news from one of the most influential companies in the world is rarely missed, you might have overlooked news in April that the company formerly known as Taser will now be called Axon.

The name change is reflective of much more. At the same time, CEO Rick Smith announced a new vision for the organization – to make the bullet obsolete.

Wow. That’s a punch-in-the-gut-pay-attention vision. (To back that promise up, Axon is offering free body cameras to every officer in the United States.)

As a brand strategist, both stories caught my eye.

We love to teach our clients that mission should be the center of their brand. That means it is the source of eternal energy and ideas. That means it is the thing you never get tired of sharing.

That means you as the leader better take some time to define it for yourself, and your team – ASAP.

It is true north.

It is what matters most to you, personally.

It’s what powers your bottom line results.

It’s what has the most influence on your legacy.

It’s what your family will be the most proud of when you step down – or go feet out the door.

If you don’t have it, can’t remember it, or feel it is now insignificant, there’s a very good chance your organization has slipped into what we call Drift mode – a gradual, seamless detachment from an organization’s roots that erodes culture, innovation and differentiation, resulting in sense of brand aimlessness.

People define values, mission and message a number of ways. Here are our definitions:

Values – What you believe above all else.

Mission – The gift you want to give the world.

Message – A simple, unexpected and emotional invitation for others to join.

These are the three essential key components of every brand – and every movement.

Know them, speak them clearly and live them daily and you will build a brand of significance.

That’s a message Zuckerberg and Smith have both taken to heart.


Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster are cofounders of the intrinsic branding practice known as Root + River. Together with their defiantly different clients, they uncover then articulate the foundational elements of the brand. Then, they provide brand strategy and brand coaching as the brand is rolled out internally and externally. Obsessive about language and differentiation, Emily + Justin are also authors and speakers. Follow @rootandriver @fosterthinking and @emilyatlarge.

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