The Key to Unlocking True Opportunity
Lead your organization with confidence, knowing your brand's genetic code and letting it guide you
My team and I live to help brands – and the people who run them – find their truth and bring it to life in a way that’s meaningful to their target audiences and dramatically different from other choices. It all starts with finding the intersection of these three ideas:
We call this brand sweet spot “TMD” for short.
We think of the TMD intersection as a brand’s genetic code – its DNA. Once unlocked and used as a guiding force for every brand-related decision made across the entire organization, big and exciting things can happen. When you truly understand your genetic code, you can even bring a fading brand back to life by identifying opportunities you never knew you had.
Let’s look at an organization that did just that – a brand that charted a new future by leveraging a heritage rich with purpose and loyalty.
MEET THE MOOSE
Moose International is one of the largest and oldest fraternal service organizations in the world. The Loyal Order of Moose found purpose and success at the beginning of the 20th century by utilizing membership and lodges as a “social safety net” for working-class families. The heart and soul of their good works is Mooseheart Child City and School, a nonprofit, 1,000-acre residential campus outside of Chicago that has housed and educated more than 12,000 at-risk and in-need children since opening more than a century ago. As many as 225 children are enrolled each year, from infants to high-school seniors. They’re so good at what they do there that 80 percent of graduates go on to college.
By 1990, however, the concept of fraternal organizations had grown stale. By and large, young people didn’t want to be a part of their fathers’ and grandfathers’ lodges anymore. Memberships in such orders started a precipitous decline that continues today.
While declining membership was a problem, it was causing another, even bigger problem: Funding for Mooseheart was under threat.
Moose had to do something new – not replace the existing lodges but complement them with a new offering for a new generation that could sustain the organization. Luckily, Moose’s passion for its purpose was bigger than its fear of change.
But what to do?
CHARTING A NEW COURSE WITH "TMD"
To ensure the future of Moose and Mooseheart, my team and I needed to go deep into Moose International’s genetic code to uncover the truth that drove such loyalty for generations – and could drive meaningful engagement among a new cohort.
What we found embedded in the organization’s DNA was a four-pronged purpose that drove Moose International from the start. Moose cared about bringing working families together to break bread and enjoy each other as a community, doing good things together to improve their community, helping each other out when needed and empowering children to grow into healthy, happy adults.
We then looked outward: What was most meaningful to modern working families? Through our research, we identified an urgent, unfulfilled need that Moose was uniquely qualified to fill. In a dramatic shift from previous generations, more than 30 million Millennials are “1099” employees. Forbes recently reported that by 2020, 50 percent of all professionals will be primarily or secondarily employed as freelancers.
Modern working families are experiencing a sea change in everyday life – a seismic shift to freelance, remote and entrepreneurial employment – without services to meet them where they are.
Our research also showed that as Millennials begin to have children, their values around social life, foodie culture and recreation are “life-stage resistant” – that is, they are looking for ways to integrate their children into the same recreation and activities they are already doing. Furthermore, whether or not they have children, their desire is not for “work-life balance” but “work-life integration.”
An organization that had reinvented itself for the working family more than a century ago could do it again. Working side-by-side with the CEO of Moose International, we took Moose’s truth and created a completely new business concept called Lodgic Everyday Community: a new category of offering that blends three lines of business into a unique customer experience that serves the often-conflicting daily needs of modern working families.
A NEW MOOSE EXPERIENCE
Lodgic seamlessly unites a productivity-boosting coworking environment, tapping into Moose’s heart for helping working people thrive; flexible, high-quality, learning-oriented childcare, rooted in Moose’s desire to see all children grow up happy and healthy with the social skills they need to succeed in life; and honest, wholesome, delicious food and drink, because nothing nourishes communities more than eating together. It’s all under one roof, in one vibrant, hospitality-minded experience.
Customers can plug in how they want, when they want, on occasion or every day. Think of the scenarios: You can focus on growing your start-up, even if it’s after your “day job.” Enjoy an after-work date night with your spouse in the restaurant; the kids can play and learn right next door. Or work uninterrupted, then pick up the kids and a freshly made grab-and-go dinner to heat and serve at home. Maybe you need to just get out of your home office (otherwise known as the spare bedroom) to present a little more professionally. No more dropping the kids at childcare (where you have to pay even for hours you don’t use), driving to wherever you’re working from that day (where you have to make sure the internet is working, or there’s fresh coffee in the pot), driving to lunch, driving back, picking up the kids, and stopping for food (at that time of day when quick-and-easy often wins out over quality).
Lodgic is an all-new, enhanced, high-value customer experience that delivers on Moose’s century-old purpose, but in ways that are meaningful for a whole new generation of consumers. For today’s independent professionals and parents, it’s a smarter way to work and play.
The first-ever Lodgic Everyday Community is opening in Champaign, Illinois, this September, with more locations to come in short order.
WHAT’S YOUR TRUE OPPORTUNITY
Moose International is a legacy organization that has leveraged the power of brand to take charge of its future. The team's genetic code has sent them down a new, exciting, and dramatically different path that nevertheless remains true to who they are and what they deeply care about, and drives meaningful loyalty with a whole new generation.
What big opportunities are embedded in your brand’s genetic code, just waiting to be unleashed?
Cheryl Farr founded SIGNAL.csk Brand Partners in 2009 to help organizations of all kinds realize their real brand power. She empowers leaders who value fresh creative thinking, purpose alignment, and the strategic pursuit of excellence to be strong stewards of their brands — and their people to be passionate brand evangelists. She is a brand innovator, noted public speaker, former travel and lifestyle writer, mid-century modernist, passionate traveler, New York Giants fan, and Instagram voice of her beloved shih tzu, Harry Carson (@harrycarsonspeaks). If any or all of these appeal to you, let’s chat: firstname.lastname@example.org.