What is a big-hearted business?


Earlier this year I went to Berlin to attend TYPO Talks, an incredible international design conference. During the three days of the event, I saw renowned designers, artists and entrepreneurs from all over the world speak to thousands of eager listeners about their experiences of “making it” and being at the top of their creative game.

Among my favourite speakers was Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka Swissmiss. As a designer by trade, and prolific entrepreneur who is officially ‘clientless’ (she only works on her personal side projects), Tina is behind impressive projects like CreativeMornings and one of the first-ever co-working spaces called Studiomates, which is based in Brooklyn, New York. Swissmiss is definitely my idea of über.

During her talk, Swissmiss shared some of her personal truths for life and business, and from her uplifting list, something stood out to me.

“Start from the heart.”

She elaborates: “Use transparency, empathy and thoughtfulness at the start of every business decision.”

As a marketing professional and corporate renegade, that’s something I’ve been reflecting on for a while. How can we overcome skepticism and encourage a heart-centred mentality in mainstream businesses?

We know the world needs leaders and investors who believe in an inclusive and socially responsible economy to address the world’s toughest challenges. So when will “doing business with heart, meaning and purpose” transcend the not-for-profit arena and become norm in corporate boardrooms?

Purpose beyond profit doesn't mean purpose instead of profit.

It’s no surprise that the goal of advertising is to create an emotional bond between a brand and an audience. As humans, we want to constantly be reminded that we belong and that we’re connected. Big corporations with multi-million dollar marketing budgets have been using this strategy for a long time.

But there’s a difference between manipulating your emotional bond with the audience, and operating from a genuine place of transparency, empathy and thoughtfulness.

One is about attention, the other is about connection. Economist and author Umair Haque has a wonderful article published at the Harvard Business Review about why your digital strategy shouldn’t be about attention.

Caring about the impact your products and services make in your community – from suppliers to consumers and the environment – is the first step. If you do care, translating this into to your communications strategy is simpler than you think.

Think about how you could revise your brand message using a big-hearted approach. How would you answer the following questions:

Why do you do what you do? Who do you do it for? How are you able to make a positive impact?

I’d love to know, feel free to post your comments below!

Carolina x