2013 Conscious Capitalism Conference

April 5episode

It's not what you sell—it's what you stand for, insists ad exec Roy Spence


Roy Spence is chairman and CEO of GSD&M Idea City, a national marketing communications and advertising agency.

Under Spence’s leadership and its Purpose-Based Branding™ philosophy, the agency has helped some of the world’s most successful brands grow while using its talents to make a difference in communities around the country and the world.

Spence has been named Ad Man of the Year and Idea Man of the Century, and he has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, US News & World Report, Esquire, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, and Fortune for his perspectives on advertising, marketing, and finding and fulfilling an organization’s purpose. A popular keynote speaker, he regularly addresses audiences throughout the business, government, and nonprofit communities.

Spence is a member of the board of directors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation and is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas. In 2006, his book, “The Amazing Faith of Texas: Common Ground on Higher Ground,” was published.

So it was a pleasure to interview Spence at the Conscious Capitalism Conference 2013, where he was a keynote speaker. Don’t miss our podcast interview, where you’ll learn:

  • What it means to be a Conscious Capitalist, from the advertising point of view.
  • Why Spence and Mackey have been buddies since they were kids.
  • How — and why — Spence got President Clinton and President Bush to wish his kid a happy birthday.
  • And much more.

Download our podcast interview, at right.

Don’t miss Spence’s keynote speech: Who is Roy Spence and what makes him the ‘Pied Piper of Purpose’?

For the last 35 years, Roy Spence has helped organizations such as Southwest Airlines, BMW, the University of Texas, Walmart, the Clinton Global Initiative, and many others achieve greatness by getting them to obsess about one big idea: purpose. With purpose as the North Star, employee engagement is higher, competition is less threatening, customers are more loyal, and innovation flows. It’s the secret to developing a more fulfilling work life as well as a healthier bottom line.

Simply put, purpose is a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world. As Spence writes, “It’s your reason for being that goes beyond making money, and it almost always results in making more money than you ever thought possible.” It’s not ‘soft stuff,’ as some might scoff. Especially during times of great economic uncertainty, purpose is the key to creating and maintaining a high-performing organization. It deserves just as much attention as strategy, execution, and innovation.

A real purpose can’t be just words on a piece of paper. It has to get under the skin of every member of your organization, like Southwest’s purpose of democratizing the skies, or Walmart’s of saving people money so they can live better. If you get it right, your people will feel great about what they’re doing, clear about their goals, and excited to get to work every morning. No organization is too big or too small, too niche or too mundane, to benefit from a clearly defined purpose.

Spence and co-author Haley Rushing share their insider insights and case studies to help you discover your organization’s purpose, proclaim it to the world, and apply it to everything you do. This book will force you to address some tough and profound questions:

  • What difference do we want to make in the world?
  • What do we really stand for?
  • Do we have purpose-based leaders in key roles?
  • Do our employees feel that what they do matters?
  • Would our customers miss us if we ceased to exist?
  • Do we bring our purpose to life everywhere we can, both internally and externally?

Spence’s hard-won lessons will change the way you view your job, your business model, your leadership style, and your marketing. They will help you make money, make a difference, and with a little luck, make history.

Click here to watch, listen, and learn.

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