How to Develop a Powerful Brand Purpose
Are you one of the millions of employees worldwide motivated by working for a company with a deeper purpose? With culture being the first product of any business, it’s crucial for a brand’s success that employees not only buy into a brand’s purpose but that they believe it and live it every day. When employees are engaged, a brand can leverage internal support into relaying and communicating a powerful brand purpose to consumers. We know that a great brand purpose should be present in all that a brand does: from developing its products to marketing its services to every customer experience throughout the sales process. But just how does a brand develop a powerful purpose?
The Difference Between Purpose, Values, Vision, and Mission
When crafting your brand strategy you should be considering your values, vision, and mission, but did you stop to consider your purpose?
Your purpose is the ‘why’ you exist. It’s a higher order reason for your business beyond making a profit and is the idealistic view of how you want your audience to value your brand. For example, “we create so you can thrive” or Starbucks’ – “to establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow”. With your purpose established, how does it differ from your values, vision, and mission?
Values are the behaviors you encourage, and the ‘how’s’ of how you would like to behave in order to achieve your goals. For example, does your business have organizational qualities it prizes such as transparency or collaboration? These ethics, or moral compass, if implemented for your brand will help you to navigate towards your vision.
Vision is the overarching statement of where you want to get to. It’s your destination as a brand in terms of how you want to be positioned in the future. For example “we want to be the world’s leading music listening app by 2025.” To achieve your vision you will want to stick to your purpose, values, and mission.
Conversely, the mission is the ‘what’ you should do to get there. This can include outlining key tactics or initiatives for operations, and product development or marketing, which will help you achieve your goals. For example, you might map out a brand communications strategy that helps you to convey your purpose to potential clients. Going back to the original example – Starbucks, their mission is: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time”. You can see how their mission ties into their overarching purpose as a brand.
What Are the Main Types of Brand Purpose?
In his book ‘Grow’, ex-P&G CMO Jim Stengel discusses what he believes to be the five main categories of high-performing brands.
- Eliciting Joy: companies such as Coca-Cola exist to inspire happiness.
- Enabling Connection: for example, DHL’s purpose as a company is to ensure customers remain connected through the delivery of goods and services.
- Inspiring Exploration: companies such as Expedia exist solely to power new experiences.
- Evoking Pride: e.g. Adidas’ purpose as a company is to evoke pride in owning a pair of its shoes.
- Impacting Society: for example, TOM’s Shoes exists to match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need.
Steps You Can Take to Discover and Implement Your Brand Purpose
Carrying on with Jim Stengel, the results of a 10-year study he conducted of over 50,000 brands found that those companies centered around improving the lives of their customers significantly outperformed their competitors in terms of revenue and growth. So what are some of the steps you can take to discover your brand purpose?
- Look Historically or at Your Ideology: Deep-dive into the history of your brand, it’s heritage, the founders story, and determine the reason for the brand coming into existence in the first place.
- Evaluate Your Brand: Determine what you are good at (strengths), your key focus (your passions), and what the intersection point of strength and passion is to determine how your brand can be of service. For example, this company is a group of engineers, creatives, marketers, do’ers, and thinkers who are passionate about helping other businesses reach their full potential.
- Ask Employees: By speaking with your staff you can discover what they really value about their work. This collaboration can help to determine what they are passionate about.
- Survey Your Customers: After all, they’re already engaging with your brand and have strong reasons for doing so. Use your customers, vendors or suppliers to help you unearth real insights about your purpose.
With the characteristics of how you will define your brand in place, you should be prepared to implement your positioning. The first step will be to implement the characteristics internally. After all, a strong brand exemplifies its positioning in everything it does. Implementing characteristics internally requires a significant amount of time and planning in order to gain the trust of your employees, and must be established before you begin gaining the trust of the market and your desired audience. After implementation remember to monitor and continually evaluate your brand, allowing for small adjustments as required. This is how you will develop a powerful brand premise and position your company for overall success.
First published on 03/21/2019 – updated on 03/23/2020