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I build brands with a purpose. I also run, write, drink too much espresso, ride horses, and get lost in Manhattan.

Have you ever thought about how you can fly across the country in five hours, but spend double that time stuck in airports?

There’s a breakdown somewhere, a point at which we’ve turned the pinnacle of transport efficiency into a hellscape of long lines, overpriced everything, and recycled air.

The last time I opted for a flight with a stopover, I said it would be the last time. Yet here I was, dragging through hour eight in the vacuum that is the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

By now, I should have been wheels down at LAX, texting my dad that I…

Taking a knee made Nike stand up.

As brand activism becomes commonplace — even expected — it’s an optimal moment to unpack the factors that spur companies to stand up for something that matters.

Enter Nike and Colin Kaepernick, with a contentious new campaign and profound tagline: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” As swooshes burn, #boycottnike takes over social feeds, memes proliferate, and thought pieces ignite conversation, one might wonder: Why, Nike, why?

The “why” is because people reward brands for standing up for something that matters. …

If 2017 was the year brands embraced purpose, 2018 will be the year it is redefined.

The purpose brands and consumers have come to know is an emotive, consumer-forward, guiding “north star” for a company.

Driven by a tense political climate, divided country, and shifting consumer expectations, purpose in 2018 will be about activism.

Transparency and authenticity will set apart the “shouters” from the “doers,” the latter of which will discover and develop purpose within the company before activating stakeholders as voices of their movement.

We saw more brands attempting activism in 2017, to success and failure. Following President Trump’s…

As Manager of Content and Community Impact at the Purpose Collaborative, I’m delving into the role that activist brands play in today’s roiling political and social climate, drawing insights from members of the Collaborative.

Employee engagement is fading fast.

For decades, employee engagement has been the cornerstone of “doing good” as a company, but it’s in decline for the first time since 2012, according to a study by Aon Hewitt. Considering that a company’s human capital is arguably its most valuable asset, this is a disturbing trend.

While some companies are on the brink of change and are starting to…

As Manager of Content and Community Impact at the Purpose Collaborative, I’m delving into the role that activist brands play in today’s roiling political and social climate, drawing insights from members of the Collaborative.

Tread lightly into this Trump-instigated minefield…

Headlines like Trump’s Politics: Are Brands Playing with Fire? pepper our social media feeds, newsletters, and mainstream media, making it clear that we’ve surpassed the tipping point.

Through his campaign and nascent presidential term, Trump “has allowed a political and social environment to emerge that empowers agendas of hate and ignorance,” notes Scott Beaudoin, Chief Strategy Officer of RF Binder

We all seek to live life with a purpose.

Perhaps our self-defined purpose provides us with a reason to get out of bed in the morning, or is the impetus for community work, continued education, or chasing aspirations.

Purpose is meaningless without action, and this is no different for businesses. While the core purpose of a company is to be economically successful, businesses can exist to create both economic and social value. This “shared value” drives greater results through employee and consumer engagement and action.

In our hyper-competitive and increasingly connected consumer marketplace, we are moving from a transactional business-consumer relationship to an emotional business-consumer relationship. When consumers buy…

Sort of.

While the ch-ch-ch-chia requires just a few simple inputs, those being water and seeds, your startup will need a lot more: humans, technology, real estate, capital, IP…and finding the right formula can be tricky, especially in the first year.

There’s a fine line between lean, efficient, and bloated, and this is especially true before a company reaches profitability. As you get your books in order and work through financial projections, it’s important to look at what’s necessary and what isn’t. We can group these necessities in two familiar buckets:

  • Fixed costs (the shell of your chia pet)
  • Variable…

Experimental art — often grouped under the terms conceptual, modern or contemporary — can be divisive. To some, a blank canvas marked only by a diagonal rip is hardly “art”. Starry Night, Girl with a Pearl Earring, American Gothic, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte — that’s art.

Experimental art as we know it today asks more questions than that of previous eras. …

You get the most out of life when you do the things that scare you:

  1. Run a half marathon.

2. Travel to Europe by yourself.

3. Quit your job.

4. Start a company.

5. Teach yourself a new hobby. (Google helps).

6. Be happy alone in a city of 8 million people.

We’re brought into this world with certain expectations imposed by society, our families, and our friends. Get this degree, get that job, marry that person, buy a house in this suburb…

This isn’t an argument against that plan. There are many, many people my age who are married…

Kristin Kenney

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