“Mike is that most inconvenient of creative thinkers: he wants something to actually happen as a result of his creativity, not just be lauded for it. So he has a keen ear for business bulldust and doesn’t think twice about busting corporate myths.”
Someone wrote that about me once and I’ve always liked it as an overview of what makes me tick. I began my career as an advertising copywriter and then creative director. It put me at the coalface of capitalism. I was the person companies came to when they wanted to invent value with an ad campaign, rather than create genuine value with a better product.
This strange, illogical strategy led me to explore what happens when companies are encouraged to tell the truth and deliver on authentic promises (spoiler alert – business works way better that way). When I met Ronnie, high ideals were aligned and we created Meerkats to help companies find their true value.
It went pretty well and we ended up working for iiNet, Bankwest, IKEA, HBF, Lotterywest and lots of terrific small, challenger brands too. There were many companies we couldn’t help though, so in 2018 I wrote a book specifically to help small business owners and startup entrepreneurs find and implement their own purpose, called “Truth. Growth. Repeat. A business manual for Generation Why”.
Ronnie and I are now busy establishing a new company – InBetterCompany – while also lecturing on purpose at schools and universities and mentoring students and young entrepreneurs.
Ronnie’s love of patterns started on seemingly trivial projects like introducing people to new chocolates from Cadbury’s, but soon grew in complexity and impact to helping put the “Big Issue” on the streets of Scotland and deepening the institutions of democracy through explaining devolution or running election campaigns.
The combination of brand strategy and corporate strategy led Ronnie to wonder about a better kind of capitalism created from the individual firm upwards. Where he could help companies find their true value, as opposed to them asking him to invent some fake value to put into an ad campaign. To pursue this notion, he co-founded Australia’s first purpose-driven ad agency – Meerkats – in 2004, sold it in 2020 and started InBetterCompany shortly afterwards.
Reflecting his wish for a more socially inclusive economy that recognises and respects our environment (back in the 1990s Ronnie’s MBA was sponsored by the Worldwide Fund for Nature on Sustainable Business), Ronnie is a non-executive director of Wide Open Agriculture, the world’s first publicly listed regenerative food and agriculture company, a committee member of RegenWA, advocating for an ecological approach to farming, and was fortunate to be one of the representatives at the Presencing Institute’s inaugural Eco-System Leadership Program held in Berlin in 2019.
My goal in writing this book is to help you succeed in a way that fills your heart not just your bank account. And that can only happen if the book’s methods are applied in the real world, to affect real change. So if there’s something stopping you from finding or applying your true purpose, let me know, I might be able to help.
I’m also very interested in hearing from anyone who has read the book and wants to share a thought or opinion. Or better still, a positive experience after implementing the book’s philosophies and methods.
The more stories we share the more owners will be inspired to build their businesses on honesty and value, leading (eventually) to a better kind of capitalism around the world.
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