How to Sell Brand & Culture To The CEO

Those of us who operate in the realm of brand and culture understand on a visceral level that these intangibles assets have a very tangible impact on an organization’s bottom line… and deserve attention and investment.

But we’re not always the decision makers, are we?  And those who typically do make the investment decisions often see things differently.   

Here is a quick parable we use to create a break-through understanding that allows the conversation to move forward a bit easier. We’ve employed it in sales pitches, at the opening of presentations, and even as our “stand-up” intro at networking events.  It seems to get even the most jaded heads nodding in agreement.


Imagine two companies that are virtually identical.

They offer the same products and services to the same customers in the same markets. They’re of equal size, have equally competent staff and equally pedigreed leadership. Both have access to the same capital and intellectual property. They are virtually identical in every way. Except one.

At company B, the people come to work largely for a paycheck and see the work they do primarily in terms of a financial transaction: We deliver great service at a fair price. I provide a full day’s effort in return for a fair wage.

But at company A, the people come to work every day with purpose: a clear notion of how what they do improves people’s lives and makes the world a better place. They can crisply explain how both the company's products/services and day-to-day operations deliver on this purpose. It is a notion that is socialized and celebrated by everyone in the company and lived by leadership every day.  

Now, simply ask them three questions: 

  • If you were a competitor, which would you fear more? Company A or Company B?
  • If you were CEO, which organization would you rather lead? Company A or Company B? 
  • If you were a strategic buyer or a private equity firm, which would you likely pay more for? Company A or Company B?


Without fail, hands will raise for Company A.  Why? Because, all things being equal, we know deep down that a purposeful brand and culture are meaningful, contagious – seeing a great culture in action makes you want to be part of one – and memorably differentiating.

Try this simple story the next time you need to open a conversation with a decision-maker around brand and culture. Let us know how it goes.  

And if you want to learn more about how the intangibles of brand and culture can deliver tangible results, download our white paper: The Value of Hidden Assets–How Brand & Culture Can Affect Exit Valuation.