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It’s ‘Why’ not ‘What’ that MattersMarch - 2015


Last week, in our first column in this series about AE Marketing Group’s 4th anniversary, we wrote about three core principles: Purpose, Customers and Profit. And if there was one thing we knew for certain before starting the company, it was that the last two come and go.

As author Simon Sinek so famously discussed at TED it’s not “what” you do that counts, it’s “why” you do what you do that really matters. Now, he was primarily applying that philosophy to business, but obviously the “why” very much matters in life as well. And when Brian Walker founded our company, the vision for “why” was clear …

Build community, embrace chaos, break down barriers and give to causes bigger than yourself.

But in the context of a brand marketing and customer experience agency, we are often asked, what do you mean by “build community”?  So, here’s what that means to our team:

  1. Not only connect brands with consumers, but also engage employees, as they are a powerful and necessary component to good customer experience.
  1. Build a comprehensive network of the best hired guns and entrepreneurs across the industry for design, development, content, business strategy and more.
  1. End agency wars and agency-client conflict. It doesn’t do anyone any good.
  1. Amplify the impact our customers have on the communities they serve.
  1. Support causes that our employees, consultants, partners, customers care about.

Now, a purpose or mission statement is one thing, but actually living it is another. The best brands understand this and not only are experiencing incredible growth and loyalty, but also are making a difference.

In the past four years, AE Marketing Group has both worked for agencies and hired others. When an early customer outgrew us, we actually led the search for our replacement.

When supporting brands outside Chicago, we try to hire local talent to help us. We have provided work from Chicago to Anchorage and from Alabama to Europe.

But what we are most proud of is our charitable giving to 26 non-profits/charities and counting. That’s unheard of for a company our size, but we believe it’s the right thing for the community.

So, the community we seek to build is not the social media kind that most people think of our industry. Instead, our “why” is bigger than ourselves and we strive to live it every day.

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