I started noticing something about two years ago, but it was significant enough that I didn't want to be wrong, so I just watched it develop until it was clearly an issue. What I'm referring to is an artificial positioning around firms who are purpose-driven themselves...and want to work with purpose-driven companies or non-profits or orgs. There are many labels for this, but something else you see frequently is the mantra of "doing well by doing good" and so on. What has emerged to serve this segment is a type of marketing / design / digital firm that would see themselves carefully aligned with that mission and almost in the trenches with their clients. Though I've never seen this tagline specifically, you could imagine seeing something like this: We do good work for those who are doing good work in the world. That sort of positioning feels good and it resonates with many prospective clients (and your team), but there are two problems with it:
- There are a thousand firms claiming that space, and thus it has become a distinction without a difference.
- It's a positioning built on an affinity (or solidarity) more than an expertise.