How to Develop a Powerful Brand Strategy and 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 heritag
- e, 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 and strategy. Your brand is your company’s persona; its personality. A brand strategy is a long-term plan for the development of your brand in order to achieve your goals. This includes all aspects related to your customer’s needs such as understanding your buyer personas and defining your brand and message strategy. In fact, there are a number of components which go into crafting a powerful brand strategy. We’ve outlined the key considerations below to help you build a consistent, long-standing, strong brand that can stand the test of time.
Define Your Brand, Define Your Business:
- Brand Promise: Be consistent by defining the values or experience that your customers can expect to receive every single time they interact with your company. Brand consistency, which includes your brand’s promise, will float your company’s boat even when the waters seem rough.
- Brand Perception: The perception of a brand is owned by consumers, not the brand itself. However, as a brand, you can determine how you want to be perceived and craft your brand messaging to support that perception.
- Brand Values: Your brand values are the core from which your brand’s design, voice, message, and relationships radiate. Your values will impact the design and message of your brand, and the way in which you approach relationships with your customers.
- Brand Voice: Brand voice is the tone and selection of words, combined with the attitude that you use to address your brand’s consumers. Voice plays a very important role in how your customers view your brand. What type of personality do you want your brand to convey in order for it to ultimately be perceived as you would like?
- Brand Positioning: Used as a tool to align marketing efforts with brand values, brand positioning is a brief description of your brand’s offering, the persona you are targeted and a determination of how the product or service meets the needs of your buyer persona. What do you want your potential customer to think about when considering buying your brand. What need can your brand fulfill for them?
Applying Your Brand Strategy to Growing Your Business
What do you think of when you hear the name Coco-Cola? Nike? Burt’s Bees? All three of these powerhouse companies have done a superior job of creating and maintaining their brand’s identity. And if you haven’t already, your company can as well.
- Target Audience: When defining your brand strategy you likely started with Buyer Personas. Your audience (who become your clients or customers) want to feel confident in the fact that your company understands their needs. Understanding your consumers means also being able to service them, and this understanding of your customer should carry across in all that you do to grow your business.
- Have a Voice. Don’t be boring, be a voice that stands out amongst a sea of sameness. We mean it. Content is where it’s at, and if your business not only establishes its voice when it comes to marketing content but remains consistent, consumers will follow. If your content is unengaging, you may not attract as big of an audience as you would like. Find your voice, keep it clear, consistent, and interesting. Hit the key points of your audience and their needs and make sure it has a purpose.
- Branded Content. Case studies, blogs, and information as to your services and/ or products on your website go a long way to showing not only what your company does but also how it continues to learn and grow in order to remain successful in its expertise. Added bonus? This content can be used in your email marketing, and social media content to help drive valuable traffic to your site.
- Monitor Your Brand. There are many ways to keep track of where your efforts are leading to. Your branding initiative should be driving business straight to you. Google Analytics will not only keep track of how your customers are finding your products or services but also from which content factor: emails, blogs, and what they did when they found that content, how long it took them to act upon it, and if any other factors contribute to this. Some SEO tools (such as SEMRush) allow you to monitor brand chatter or brand reputation, while there are free social media alert tools which help you to track online mentions of your brand.
Keep the Chatter Going: Your Branding Initiative
A company’s brand strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. The first step is to outline your blueprint, what you want to fulfill as a company and who you want to attract, then build your brand based off of your blueprint. It’s important not to overlook the essential tools necessary to not only establish, maintain, and keep track of your company’s activity and success but also to be able to identify where your weak spots are and how to continue to improve your brand and your business. Change is definite in business, and if you know how to adapt and respond to change, you’ll always be ahead of the game.
First published on 04.17.2019 – updated on 04.27.2021