Brand Is A Reflection of Culture:

The Future of HR & Marketing

President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA. The janitor replied,

I'm helping put a man on the moon,
Mr. President!

That man is the definition of a brand being the reflection of culture. He understands that he is an integral part of a collective purpose.

He doesn't just work for NASA.
He is NASA.

When people believe in the mission (no pun intended) of the company and you believe in them, unimaginable things happen, and not all have to be putting a man on the moon.

The Traditional Way of Looking at Brands and Culture

Marketing professionals spend countless hours carefully constructing mission statements and cherry picking what to share with the world.

We are publicists, tall tale tellers, wordsmiths and let’s be honest… "Many of us are LIARS."

These tricks have worked for quite some time, but we are magicians in a transparent world where the curtains are pulled back.

Tell the truth and you'll never have to remember a thing.

- Mark Twain

A clear divide is emerging from this changing marketing world:

Brands that understand why they exist.

Brands that are living their "why" internally and externally.

Then there are brands that are still trying to put lipstick on a pig.

So Where is This Disconnect?

The Work Force has become…

  • 49

    million more Americans quitting jobs
    Jan 2016 alone (more than any point than since 2001)
  • 32

    million Americans quitting jobs (Gallup, 2014)
    2018 (compared to 2012)
  • 87%

    disengaged at work
Millennials have overwhelmingly chosen purpose driven jobs over larger paychecks.

- Forbes

But it's not just the millennial set switching jobs:

  • 33%

    24 and under
  • 30.5%

    25 to 34
  • 29.4%

    35 to 54
  • 7.1%

    55 and over

Top Reasons People Left


of employees think the organization they work for has “no ambition beyond making money.�?


No Trust in Leadership
Lack of Transparency
Little Opportunity
Not Feeling Valued
Unfair Pay

How are marketers supposed to convince consumers to be engaged in the brand, when those that invest 40+ hours a week in the company aren't even engaged?

We can all agree employees are there to make the company money. Even the most adorable lemonade stand wants to walk away with a few bucks at the end of the day.

What many companies fail to realize is that profits are derived from growth, growth stems from innovation, innovation is the result of top talent which is hard to find for most organizations.

  • Purpose driven brands

    Beliefs, Meaning
  • Top people

    The Top Talent, Millennials, Savvy Leaders
  • Innovation

    Continue to Lead as Industries and business transform
  • Growth

    The lifetime of every business and key to investment and customers
  • Profit


Top talent is not necessarily being sold to the highest bidder. They strive to find meaning and purpose in their lives in and outside of work.

This idea is relatively new, so what changed?

As technological advances allowed us to scale up the pyramid, we began to address higher needs. Including the highest order: the need for self-actualization —the need to fulfill your highest potential.

  • Self Actualization
  • Achievement
  • Social
  • Safety/Security
  • Survival

For centuries, "jobs" were centered around survival — food, shelter and safety.

Our purpose was clear: SURVIVE

People are now seeking deeper meaning in life and their career choices reflect this

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Purpose vs. Profit

Recruiters use marketing to attract top talent. But no matter how much you shine the shoe, if it's not a good fit, they will leave.

And why wouldn't they?

  • 15% increase in pay
  • Stigma of switching jobs
  • $109,000 avg cost per turnover
- Oracle

So while profit-driven companies suffer, purpose-driven companies benefit, Big Time.

Employees are 1.7x more satisfied and 1.4x more engaged.

-The Energy Project
  • 87%

    Ability to Hire Best People
  • 26%

    Revenue Per Employee
  • 40%

    Turnover in High Performers
  • 17%

    Overall Turnover
“Well those organizations are probably in feel good industries! You can't fit a square peg into a good vibes hole!?

That's where you're mistaken.

Take Payline Data, a Chicago-based payment processing service.

Jeff Shea, CEO and co-founder, conceptualized their purpose before deciding on an industry.



Everything they do, they believe it must create a positive impact.


They make a Positive Impact by enabling innovative software and products to improve business, and share their time and resources with those in need.


We just happen to be in the payments industry.

While tech and business model innovations can be replicated, culture cannot.

- Carlton van Putten, Vice President of Revenue at Payline

Effects of this mindset have already been seen:
People want to work for them.

  • #208

    of Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in U.S.
  • #15

    Privately Held Financial Services Businesses
  • #8

    Fastest Growing Company in Chicago

Thanks to a 3yr sales growth of 1,866%!

Organizations like payline see the danger ahead, the separation between HR and Marketing.

The lines are blurring between HR and Marketing. It's time to pivot. It's time to realize your brand is a reflection of culture.

After all, every service or product begins with humans and ends with humans.

We must end the days of simply chasing profits and focus on becoming the best version of ourselves internally so our brand is a true reflection of our culture.

Stop the highlight REEL, start highlighting REAL. If we do this, talent, consumers and profit will follow.

Mabbly is a Chicago-based digital marketing agency inspired by "why", driven by data.