Book Review – On Purpose – Delivering a branded customer experience people love


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I have been saying for a long time now that the reason organisations exist is to ‘fulfill a purpose’. Sadly, many consciously and some unconsciously, believe that the reason their organisation exists is ‘to make money’. I wholeheartedly disagree. The mantra that I impart on to anyone who will listen is as follows:

No commercial organisation exists to ‘make money’. All commercial organisations exist to ‘fulfill a purpose’. The better able they are at fulfilling their purpose, the more money they will make!

Most seem to agree – however, it is easier said than done!! That is why I also advise people that I am a Customer Experience ‘Specialist’ – not an ‘expert’ – as I believe that anyone who champions a profession should be continually developing their specialism. Continuous professional development never ends!!

It is therefore of great value to me and all other Customer Experience Professionals that we are able to continually learn from each other – those who have been plying their trade for many years, as well as those who have only been in the thick of it more recently. As recently as June 2015, I wrote a review of the new offering from Chief Customer Officer ‘guru, Jeanne Bliss – (Chief Customer Officer 2.0) her continuing ability to provide meaningful learning to others is invaluable.

I am now delighted to write a review of another brand new book that should proudly adorn the shelf of anyone with an interest in Customer Experience.  ‘On Purpose’ is the latest publication from the pen and minds of Shaun Smith and Andy Milligan – two men who have been involved in the world of Customer Experience since the mid 1990’s. They have co-authored a number of other brilliant reads including the following:

‘On Purpose’ wonderfully, informatively and encouragingly, brings to life the importance of a brand recognising the importance of having ‘an authentic and credible sense of purpose’. It explores why this matters to consumers and employees alike – we all need to have an emotional connection with the purpose of a brand.

The book has been designed to specifically do the following:

  1. ‘Inspire’ – through the sharing of stories and their underlying customer centric philosophy
  2. ‘Illustrate’ – using the example of a brand to highlight the three main parts of the book
  3. ‘Implement’ through the sharing of a process to apply the thinking using case studies from Liberty Global and Premier Inn
  4. ‘Share’ – with the provision of links to a comprehensive online portal containing all of the tools they use and describe to help with implementation

Whether you are looking for validation of existing knowledge; new ideas to take your approach to Customer Experience forward; or just inspiration from two of the most experienced ‘specialists’ around, this cracking book has something for everyone interested in wanting to answer this fundamentally critical question:

What purpose does my business serve?

The book is aimed at leaders who want to deliver exceptional results for their business through exceptional experiences for their customers. They want ideas, insights and practical approaches to define and deliver their brand purpose in a world which is disruptive and digitalised, where customers are increasingly demanding consistency across multiple channels and where consumers are favouring brands they admire for what they stand for, not just what they sell.

When writing a book review, it is important not to give too much away – I do not want to spoil the pleasure you will get from reading it. I can safely reveal the following though. Shaun and Andy divide their thoughts on ‘purpose’ into three parts:

  1. Stand Up – which explores ‘purpose led by insight’; and ‘purposeful leadership’
  2. Stand Out – which explores ‘infectious communication’; ‘distinctive customer experience’; and ‘continuous innovation’
  3. Stand Firm – which explores ‘culture’; ‘distinctive employee experience’; ‘experience measurement’; ‘why you can never stand still’; and ‘how to implement’

The book features references to some of the following organisations:

  • Premier Inn
  • Barclays
  • GiffGaff
  • South West Airlines
  • Citizen M
  • British Airways
  • Innocent
  • Lush
  • Best Western
  • Amazon
  • Lego
  • Hointer
  • Zappos
  • Timpson

‘On Purpose’ is a book that will not disappoint – if you don’t believe me, here is what others are already saying about it:

“To define a purpose that will galvanise the entire organisation is a leap of faith and requires strong leadership, but it also requires the clear and compelling process outlined in this book if you are to embark on this incredible journey”

Patrick Dempsey OBE. MD Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants.

“Shaun and Andy have created another great book “On Purpose”, describing simply how great businesses use purpose and focus to fill customer needs and create value.
Well done”.

Vernon W. Hill II Founder/Chairman Metro Bank

“Every now and then a truly cutting edge book comes along that changes everything we know about the secrets of organizational greatness. On Purpose is a profound yet practical book no leader should miss reading. Laced with powerful examples, pragmatic practices, and written with a poignant style, Smith and Milligan reveal the mysteries of long-term enterprise success.”

Chip R. Bell, author of The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service.

So add to your reading list now – ‘On Purpose’ is quite simply a ‘must read!!

You can pre order ‘On Purpose’ in the UK now by clicking here! It will be officially released on the 3rd October 2015.

You can pre order ‘On Purpose’ in the US now by clicking here! It will be officially launched on he 28th October 2015.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith

Andy Milligan

Andy Milligan

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Golding, CCXP
A highly influential freelance CX consultant, Ian advises leading companies on CX strategy, measurement, improvement and employee advocacy techniques and solutions. Ian has worked globally across multiple industries including retail, financial services, logistics, manufacturing, telecoms and pharmaceuticals deploying CX tools and methodologies. An internationally renowned speaker and blogger on the subject of CX, Ian was also the first to become a CCXP (Certified Customer Experience Professional) Authorised Resource & Training Provider.


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