The P&L is, by all accounts, the bastion of all things rational in business.  But, what if there were such a thing as an emotional P&L?   For starters, why is it Profit AND Loss and not Profit OR Loss?

Emotional P&L, the Myndset brand strategy digital marketing

The elegant logo of

The P&L serves as a central nervous system of the entire organization, capturing all the ins and outs.  The P&L is a relatively standard form.  As such, I can’t help but feel that a P&L tends to whitewash corporate culture and brands.  Sure, the P&L serves to guide a greater shareholder community who need to be able to “read” between the lines, but would it not be possible to align a Profit & Loss statement with the culture of the brand in question?  There are definitely ways to understand an organization by the numbers themselves.  The issue I see — as I have written in the past — is that many companies have diverging messages between the three key types of outgoing communications:  Commercial, Shareholder and Employer Brand.  These divergences cause friction that, in my opinion, can hurt employee engagement, much less impede a powerful, authentic brand experience for the customer. {Click to tweet out!}

How would one go about translating a brand’s values into the P&L?

Purpose baked in…

Even if all companies must turn out profits to survive, I maintain that it is not healthy to operate profits first.  A brand wanting to survive over time should have a higher overarching mission.  My question would be: What is the higher purpose and where is that purpose baked into the P&L?  We might call it better purpose and longevity.  Not that an P&L must err into the irrational, but I think a more emotional P&L has its merits.  As Dan Pink might say, it’s about the whole new mind, with the right and left sides of the brain being applied to the brand’s financials.

Peace and Love (P&L)

Craigslist's Emotional P&L, the Myndset brand strategy digital marketing

In a world where brands must innovate in different ways, express themselves in a multi-channel environment and learn to operate in a more authentic manner, is it not possible to have the P&L reflect more closely the “feeling” of the brand?  I can imagine Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist), who publicly claims that he is not interested in maximizing profit, renaming his P&L as Peace & Love.  It would have the benefit of aligning his shareholders with the marketing message, not to mention his employer brand message (for the 30 employees they have, based out of San Francisco!).    Ok, so that might be a bit extreme (and we’ll see how long it endures).  All the same, where and how can a brand take the P&L to be a legimitate expression of the corporate culture?

Creating an emotional P&L

How crazy would it be to call income Source of Inspiration?  What about taking payroll expenses and calling them: People Investment?  Automobile expense: Getting closer to Clients?

Have you seen any examples of an emotional P&L?  What does this post inspire in you?

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