So, what’s the purpose of brand purpose and what’s the why behind your business?
As part of my 4P’s and CORE IDEA framework, PURPOSE forms the first, all important ‘P’. The purpose of a brand is the “why” behind your existence for your audience. Together the remaining ‘P’s’ [Point of Difference, Principles, Personality], it defines the core of your business, and engages your audience on an emotional level through a series of shared beliefs, solved problems, and inherent benefits. We’ll explore what this means for you brand and how to discover yours.
Businesses often rely on their product or services and marketing campaigns to determine their market position. We know these are important elements of the offering and promotional activities for growth. But these, alone, miss an important, emotional connection with the audience: your PURPOSE.
A good brand creates a connection with their audience: it gives them something to hold onto that surpasses packaging, promotions and price. Externally, your brand purpose can evoke loyalty, build trust with your customers and build a relationship with your brand that leads to advocacy.
Internally, the concept of brand purpose doesn’t always get the airtime it is worthy of, often considered cultural box timing and for marketing spiel, rather than a latent power that can drive business strategy, growth, market differentiation and team unity.
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
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So, what’s your brand purpose?
To understand what your purpose is it’s important to understand what it’s not:
The purpose is not the end goal; this is your vision.
It’s not the HOW to achieve this – this is your mission.
It’s not the behaviours or principles you exert – this are your values.
Your purpose is your WHY – is the meaning behind your existence and what you want to become in the lives of your audience. Customers are looking to interact and connect with businesses with drive and personality; a mundane or basic approach will not deliver on this.
The ultimate statement to complete is:
“The role of my brand in the lives of my audience is to __________”.
Think bigger than and beyond the outcomes and offerings of your products services – what does it actually deliver to your clients? Is it empowering, simplifying, accessible, creative?
How to find your drive
The key to defining your purpose is authenticity, coming from a genuine place of passion and spark. Before you can determine the “why” you exist, think about what you believe in, and where your passion lies. This is not a fly-by comment but something that is innate to the business, it grows and iterates with you. This will give you the guidance you need to remain relevant and consistent and must be of importance to your target audience.
Coming from a place of passion and authenticity often provokes some sort of problem solving. This is a powerful position from which to build the brand – solving real problems for real people, and taps into what’s relevant for an audience in NEED of your services.
Understand your customers, what they need, products they choose, their behaviours, trends, technologies, what car they drive – this will help you understand need-states and what solutions you may be able to offer. Use your unique brand voice to speak to these people and empower them.
What does a purpose drive brand look like?
Jim Stengel, CMO of P&G, wrote Grow, that talks to the importance and impact purpose can have on a business.
“Purpose attracts talent and sustains engagement.” – Jim Stengel
He separates some high-performing brands into five categories of purpose, which could help you identify where you may position your purpose:
Society: Dove wants to change society by celebrating the beauty of “normal” women.
Pride: Companies like BMW exist to epitomise feelings of luxury and achievement.
Exploration: Airbnb tries to help people experience new things and open the door to new adventures.
Connections: FedEx offer confidence and simplicity to people trying to make everyday connections.
Happiness: Coca-Cola find their inspiration in trying to influence moments of joy in day-to-day life.
Most will fit into one of these categories, whichever you choose, even if it’s different, authenticity is a must in finding, engaging and retaining customers. Remain true to where you started your business and why, transparent in your actions in line with your beliefs and align with partners or collaborators that match your values or address your purpose.
Being consistent with your purpose
As brand legend Wally Olins wrote in his acclaimed book The Brand Handbook:
“Outward consistency of a brand will only be achieved if it is the manifestation of an inward consistency – the consistency of purpose.”
Your brand purpose gives you your reason for being, everything else should slot alongside it – Principles, Point of Difference, Personality and your CORE IDEA. This does not need to be radical or major but something you are willing to stand by and fight for. These form the base from which a successful brand identity system is designed. Beyond this, a consistent representation of this purpose will drive higher value.
Build your brand purpose
Your purpose can be as simple, or complicated as you like. It needn’t be world changing, but must be:
Captures your drive.
What’s the role you wish to play in the lives of your audience?
Find your purpose, begin building the brand you LOVE.
Next time – we will explore the next step in building your brand: Point of Difference.
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