By Julie Heck

On rare occasion in our careers, we are given the opportunity to make a huge difference. When you get that opportunity, act upon it and see immediate results…well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

Recently, I had such an opportunity. I worked with a cross-functional team to determine and develop Skyline’s Core Purpose. The resulting message was really nothing new. Skyline employees, several of whom have been with the company over 25 years, have been living it all along. But putting it into words and explanation gave it clarity.

I was the lucky one chosen to present this message to the company and for days afterward I felt like a celebrity. I was barraged with emails, phone calls and comments in the hallways from employees who were so excited about our Core Purpose: Helping the World Trade.

Why?Knowing ‘Why’ You Exist Can Grow Business

Why is it so important that we have a core purpose? In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek puts forth his premise that companies who focus on their ‘why’ will do better than those who don’t.

This premise is further supported by former Proctor & Gamble marketing officer, Jim Stengel, in his book Grow where he shares the outcome of a decade-long growth study performed on 50,000 businesses worldwide that showed purpose-driven companies outperform non-purpose-driven companies. Thus, knowing ‘why’ you exist (your Core Purpose) not only makes you feel good, it is the right thing to do to grow your business.

Yet for many companies their Core Purpose is elusive. Sure, big companies with heavy-hitting marketing departments like Disney (Forever Entertain), GE (Create Innovative Solutions to the World’s Challenges) and Southwest Airlines (We Give People the Freedom to Fly) have their Core Purpose identified and it guides everyone in their company every day. But what about companies, like mine, that aren’t nearly the size of those huge entities?

Helping the World Trade
htwt_logo_2013It was in June of 2010 when I first heard Eduardo Conrado, SVP & CMO Motorola, share their core purpose (We help people be the best they can be in the moments that matter most) and I immediately knew we had to do the same thing at Skyline.

Eduardo defined a core purpose as “the difference you make in the world.” Seems simple, doesn’t it? It is something so basic that it stems back hundreds of years to Aristotle’s time when he said, “Where your talents and the needs of the world meet, therein lies your calling.”

Helping. Skyline is a caring and compassionate company. At our headquarters in St. Paul, we do a number of things to support our community and to help those in need. Our dealers all over the world are also deeply involved in their local communities – and that’s something we’re very proud of.

In business, we truly care about our clients. We want them to succeed and will help them in any way we can – from initial discovery to assistance on the trade show floor.

The World. Skyline is a growing global presence. Skyline now has 128 dealers in 31 countries worldwide and is expanding its presence in emerging global markets. More and more companies are exhibiting internationally and Skyline is there to support them.

Trade. Skyline is a business partner that helps companies trade, grow and prosper. Trade happens at trade shows. It is a $100 billion industry that supports many jobs throughout the world. Companies exhibit to grow their business. When they are successful they create new business and new business means new jobs and new jobs stimulate the economy, which creates new business, which creates new jobs, which stimulates the economy.

If done right and if true to the values of your company, a Core Purpose will turn your employees into an army of focused believers. Mission and Vision can be hard for all employees to understand, but an emotional Core Purpose can speak to all employees so they can live it every day. As Roy Spence, Jr., said in his book of the same title, “It’s not what you sell, it’s what you stand for.”

If you want to grow your business the single best suggestion I have is to uncover your Core Purpose, share it with your employees and give it the long life it deserves.


Julie Heck is the Director of Services and Marketing Communications at Skyline Exhibits. She specializes in creating and managing change that results in more effective marketing functions and, ultimately, sustainable growth. Julie has a Master of Business Communication degree from the University of St. Thomas, a B.A. in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Minnesota, and sits on the board of directors of the local American Marketing Association chapter.