Title: “Embedding Purpose Into The DNA Of Your Business”
Guest: Katie Burkhart – Matter7 & MatterPulse
Interviewer: Jonathan Freedman – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jonathan (0s):
Welcome back to radio entrepreneurs. I’m Jonathan Freedman and our next guest up is Katie Burkhart. Katie’s the founder of Matter7 and Matter Pulse. Welcome to Radio Entrepreneurs.

Katie (9s):
Hi, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. Great.

Jonathan (13s):
Tell our listeners a little about your organizations and what it is that you do.

Katie (17s):
Absolutely. So I started my career rather early as a designer and I founded what is today mater seven. We are currently a boutique branding agency that builds purpose driven brands with our seven step process. We’re able to take you from core strategy all the way through launch. We also work with our clients to help them with things like impact storytelling, which I think is becoming an increasing need. And we’re very excited to get that out there doing that work. What I found was that many of our clients struggled to really make decisions against their core strategy and run an aligned organization, which as you might guess hurts not only their brand, but their business.

Katie (60s):
And after taking a step back, I ended up creating a system for how to run a purpose driven business and ultimately founded matter seven as a strategic agency to actually come in and help organizations embed purpose into the DNA of their business and really change the way they run to help make them more focused and more effective.

Jonathan (1m 22s):
Wow. So you’ve just given me a whole month full there in terms of how you provided. So you, so you’ve developed a process for walking companies through really developing purpose driven businesses. So is it, is that something that I starts from the top down and it gets woven and you talked about woven, weaving it into the DNA of a, of a company. And I would imagine that that’s a monumental lift to get the entire team on board. So can you give us a little insight into the process that you go through?

Katie (1m 54s):
Absolutely. That happens. So for us, it’s actually top down and bottom up, you know, you, while you can have something that all, you know, all of your stakeholders agree on. We like to say that decision by committee is typically ineffective, equally having leadership kind of mandate that this is just what it is, is most likely not going to get you the buy-in enthusiasm that you’re really looking for engaging, you know, your team or customers and, and any other stakeholders that you’re excited to have around this. So the way that we like to look at it, as we always start with, you know, a real deep dive into what’s here, unless we’re starting with a blank slate, which is incredibly rare, and whether you intended it or not, you’ve already started to determine who you are as a company, whether that’s as a brand or as a business for preferably in my mind, they are one in the same.

Katie (2m 43s):
We really try to understand what’s going on from those stakeholder perspectives. And we start with that core strategy, which is done with all their thoughts in mind. And we typically do in a working session with multiple stakeholders. It has to include the founder CEO executive director, because they ultimately have to own it as the leader at the end of the day. But we want to make sure that multiple perspectives, key perspectives are represented in that development. We do always work to test it out before we go any further, whether that’s building out the rest of their brand or sitting and saying, okay, how are we going to build this into your processes, systems, policies, and other things throughout your business.

Jonathan (3m 21s):
So Katie, what types of enterprises or organizations you’re working with? You know, I think a lot of people here develop my brand, build my brand and tell my story as a startup exercise that I’d imagine that’s not the case at all. You’re probably dealing with some established businesses that are either looking to refine their messaging and their brand and, or refine their perception in the marketplace and perhaps internally as well. So tell us a little bit about that.

Katie (3m 49s):
Yes. So we work with both for profit and nonprofit organizations. From our point of view, your legal tax structure is irrelevant to running an effective purpose driven business, but we do have a tendency to work with organizations that are at some growth inflection point, whatever that means to them. Maybe they’re a startup, that’s reached a more mature stage of funding. Maybe they’re an organization that’s been around 20 years and they’ve realized that they really need to relook at what they’re doing. It’s, it’s no longer producing the results that they’re looking for. And that’s usually when we get the call to say, Hey, we’re not really sure that what we’re doing is where we need to be. Or one of the main reasons we actually get the call is we’ve noticed that, you know, this department is doing one thing and this department’s doing another.

Katie (4m 34s):
And you know, our brand is not really very aligned, which is the word we get a lot. How do we get everybody on the same page? And that’s, that’s where we can be really helpful, whether you’re early in the game and you’re just growing so fast that that’s been difficult to do, or you’ve, you’ve reached a point in maturity where we can really look at that and in an all perfect honesty, sometimes those little later in the game clients, and we can be a little more effective because there’s just more to work with as far as your stakeholders and where they are and really understanding what value you deliver

Jonathan (5m 3s):
And what is the timetable for an engagement or to walk through the process. What does, what does that typically look like if there is a difficult,

Katie (5m 12s):
Well, we try to pretend there is, but it’s, it’s always a little different for each organization, depending on where, where they are. And we like to say, we’ll work with you until you get to something that everybody’s excited about for our brand build process. We always target 12 to 16 weeks, depending on the size of certain aspects of your brand, like your website. It may take us a little bit longer, but we work really hard not to make these like a multi-year adventure for matter of pulse where we’re really looking at going across your whole business and how do we really get this together? So there’s the initial work, which takes a similar amount of time, sometimes a couple of weeks longer, depending on the size of the organization and how many stakeholders we need to work with to really understand what’s going on as well as how complex are businesses.

Katie (5m 56s):
And then that one, we have a, to be involved to check in at different points, whether that’s quarterly, every six months annually, we work with the organization to figure out what’s fast, but we usually don’t come in and do it now, poofs your purpose driven. You’re done. It’s it’s ongoing work and never really ends,

Jonathan (6m 14s):
You know, just to understand fully does your process include once you’ve developed the, whether it’s text verbiage, I kinda, you know, imagery, whatever it is around the brand does that also include development of collateral and or websites, et cetera, all of that.

Katie (6m 35s):
So matter seven, we take you from that core strategy through your brand identity, we generally create an about video as part of our standard process or story-based video for your company or organization. We will write the content for design and build your website. And then we do a multi-tiered launch. We then have optional steps. Most of our clients include at least one of them, which is to work with your leader on their positioning and how that intersects with your purpose design. We’ve if you can design it, we’ve done something for some client at some point in time. And then photography. We do have some clients who ask for either new portraits or a totally new library of branded photos, which we can help with as well.

Jonathan (7m 15s):
Hmm. So it really a full scale full service agency in terms of execution as well. Yeah, that’s fascinating. Are you, are you seeing a shift over the course of the last year, 16 months as this pandemic has evolved in terms of companies being introspective or at least looking to try and reposition themselves? You know, obviously a lot of sectors have been tremendously impacted. Others have thrived tremendously. Has it, have you, have you seen some trends emerge over the course of the pandemic?

Katie (7m 47s):
You know, for us, we were somewhat fortunate that a lot of our clients were not in the, you know, grossly affected pool. So they were able to kind of take their course and with some adjustments keep moving forward, which was certainly good for us. Good for them. Good for the communities or customers that they serve. What we’ve seen is definitely an uptick in interest saying, oh, well, I, you know, I always wanted to run my business this way, or like, I’ve always thought we had a purpose. Cause like I was the founder and I put one here, but we’re starting to see a little bit more awareness, especially with the increase of remote that what was once kind of relegated to the land of osmosis that people would just pick it up because we’re here, isn’t going to work anymore.

Katie (8m 28s):
You really have to put the effort in to build it in documented, as we would say, embedded into what’s really going on versus leaving it to, I don’t want to say total chance, but leaving it to those happenstance opportunities that people are all going to be on this page, both strategically and aspirationally.

Jonathan (8m 47s):
Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. And you say woven into the DNA of the organization or, or being able to embed it in the DNA. In my experience, leaders or founders of organizations have a, a very myopic sort of perception of how, how, you know their view is, Hey, I know what everybody else knows it shouldn’t know. And, and, and what we’ve often said by day, we work as management consultants is just because you repeat it a thousand times doesn’t mean it, everybody else believes it or has, you know, embedded it within their DNA. And it takes incredible amounts of repetition and consistency to drive it. It’s just like training. You know, it’s not a one and done type of effort.

Jonathan (9m 28s):
And we’ve found that companies who adopt these things and make it part of their DNA and part of their lexicon within their organization can build their brands effectively and, and build that consistency across the whole organization. I’ve worked with some companies that have been using something as simple as the tagline, but using it consistently for 2, 3, 4, 5 years before, you know, going from senior level of the organization down through mid-level and down through rank and file. So to speak, people are finally starting to embrace it, to utilize it, but it takes a long time.

Katie (10m 1s):
Yes. And it’s one of those things that we have to work in our own education to be like, it’s not once in time, you know, you from brand building, which people are like, oh, I built the brand I’m done now. And we’re like, no, all the way to, you know, if you really want to embed this and change how you run your business, fundamentally, like it’s an every day thing that you need to be paying attention to, you know, taglines or guiding principles, or some people call them rallying cries can be helpful because that’s, you know, it’s short, it’s easy to remember. It’s easy to repeat, to make sure that people on the same page, we have one client who went that route, but it took them two years, three years to get everybody to get it. And it was sort of mind blowing that it took that long, but they’re a nonprofit with volunteers across the country.

Katie (10m 43s):
You know, they’re not following the same room every day. Right. You know, it, it requires some effort. We’ve also seen a lot and we put a lot around story, you know, does everybody know the strategic narrative? Can you all tell it because it’s something that people can access regardless of where they are in the company because humans understand stories. So how do we make sure we know how to tell the story and more importantly, make it relevant to each person? I think I couldn’t agree with more with your comment about the leader that you get that sort of Superman. Like I get it. So clearly everybody else does, you know, really thinking about like you get it because it’s your business and it’s relevant to you. How do you make sure that it’s relevant to the person and your sales team or the person in finance, you know, that they understand how, what they’re doing connects back.

Jonathan (11m 26s):
Absolutely great stuff. Our guests has been Katie Burkhart founder of matter seven and matter pulse where people want to reach out to you and talk about your process and your business and how you can help them. What’s the best way for them to reach out to them.

Katie (11m 38s):
The best way to get ahold of me is to find me on LinkedIn. I actually do respond to all of the message that I am sent. So please feel free to look me up by my name. There. You can find me I’m most likely wearing a black shirt on a white background so that it is really easy to find me part of brand

Jonathan (11m 55s):
Following the Steve jobs, mold, keep it simple, great stuff. Katie Burkhart, founder of matter seven and a matter of pulse. It’s been a pleasure having you on radio entrepreneurs. Thank you so much. And we’ll be right back with another segment on radio entrepreneurs.

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