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What is a purpose-driven brand?

Posted: Friday August 27, 2021 by sid

Simply offering a great product or service is no longer enough to turn your business into a success story. Your brand needs to have a purpose to help you stand out among your competition. Consumers no longer care solely about your offering or if your prices are the cheapest – they care about what impact your brand is making. 

There is an increasing consumer expectation of brands to respond to society’s challenges, such as environmental issues, gender equality, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and more. This varies for every consumer based on their unique situation and what matters to them.

Brands that prioritise their profits over purpose or that are afraid to take a position on these social issues for fear of losing customers will be left behind. 

Why does purpose matter? 

You may be wondering, why should you care about purpose at all? Well, consider this – why do you do anything the way you do? The decisions we make and the actions we take help us work towards our purpose. If you feel like something is missing, maybe you lack purpose? 

Purpose brings together two elements that are vital for success: passion and effort. Purpose is your motivating force, what fuels your actions, and what drives what you already do. 

Although a little morbid, consider how you want to be remembered at the end of your life. Do you want to be known for making a difference, causing change, and making the world a better place? 

American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 

People want to contribute and make a difference for those around them, and more broadly, to society. Out of the billions of people in the world, it makes us feel like we are important. It makes us feel validated. It makes us feel like we are truly heard. 

This desire to contribute and be a productive community member needs to be at the core of each and every brand. Enter, brand purpose! 

What is brand purpose? 

Purpose is the reason a brand or business exists. Therefore, a purpose-driven brand is a brand that is motivated by its core mission. 

Your brand purpose is different from your brand promise, which indicates what a consumer should expect from your offering, or your brand values, which is what is important to you as a business. 

Your brand purpose must also relate to the product or service you are selling itself. You must solve a problem or meet a need.  

Before you define your brand purpose for your audience, you need to consider what is at the core of your business. Ask yourself the tough questions. Why did you start your company? What matters the most to you, personally? What problems does your brand solve? How do you help your customers? 

You may find the answers to these questions change over time as your company grows. But this is where to start when defining your brand purpose. 

The power of purpose 

Having a brand purpose is important for the success of your business because it shows your customers that you are not just your products, services, or campaigns. It showcases the fact that you care about something other than making money.

This matters to your consumers! Our individual values determine our approach to our personal and professional lives, and now they are influencing which brands we want to support. In fact, according to research by Accenture, 82% of consumers prefer to purchase from purpose-driven brands. 

If your brand or business is built around a core belief, it will draw in followers who align themselves with that belief. These shared values will help you build an emotional connection with your followers. These followers will become customers because your marketing tactics are more likely to impact those who agree with your mission and want to support it. 

Think about it from the perspective of a consumer. If they are choosing between two similar products, but one of the brands on offer is also committed to a larger mission such as a local charity or a recycling initiative, which option do you think they are going to choose? 

Research by Porter Novelli shows that 79% of consumers believe companies should work to address social justice issues, and two-thirds of people would switch from a product they usually buy to a new product from a purpose-driven company. 

By standing for something bigger than your brand, you can boost your customer loyalty. Not only will your customers return to you, again and again, but they will also become your biggest brand advocates. 

A purpose-driven brand strategy 

Having a brand purpose is one thing. Showing it to your customers is another. 

The most successful purpose-driven brands put their idealism into action, using their purpose to shape their marketing strategy. These brands keep their promises and act transparently to continue building relationships of trust with their consumers, all while contributing to society. 

If your message is perceived as inauthentic or fake, your customers will look elsewhere for a brand that truly embodies its brand purpose over one that showcases values it does not uphold just to help boost its profits. 

Your brand purpose should be reflected in everything you do, informing your brand vision, mission, story, visual, identity, decision-making, company culture, operations, and more. 

In fact, your brand purpose should set the direction for where you want your company to go. Your brand purpose can be your roadmap to stay competitive in today’s fast-changing market, showing you what to pursue and what not to pursue. 

Balancing purpose and profit 

Being a purpose-driven brand and a profitable company goes hand-in-hand. Today, having a brand purpose is becoming critical to your bottom line. 

While your brand purpose may sometimes clash with your financial situation, you can balance your purpose with your profit goals by being flexible. Sometimes you may need to make moves that do not align with your overall goal or spend time working on a side project that may seem unnecessary.

Having every member of your team aligned with your mission will help you navigate this balance. According to research by PwC, 79% of business leaders believe purpose is central to achieving success, but less than half of employees know what their organisation stands for. 

You can’t simply mandate your brand purpose like any other business initiative. The best way to spread your brand purpose from frontline workers right up to the C-Suite is by embedding your brand purpose within your company culture. 

You also need to show your customers how their purchases made a difference. By communicating this, you can make your customers feel good about their decision to purchase from you and encourage them to continue choosing your brand. 

You can also secure your brand financially while focusing on your brand purpose by finding investors who share your values. This will stop your board or shareholders from pressuring you to compromise your long-term goal in favour of short-term profits.

Attracting top talent 

It’s a tough talent market out there with a growing demand for highly skilled workers. The pandemic has caused many to rethink their career paths and pursue work that lets them feel a sense of purpose. Millennials, in particular, were three times more likely to re-evaluate their career as a result of COVID-19. 

With candidates now having their choice of where they want to work, you can stand out from your competitors as a great employer because of your brand purpose. Candidates no longer put salary and bonuses first when it comes to picking their next role. They want flexibility, work-life balance, and to work for a company that aligns with their personal values. 

How can they know if that is you if you don’t showcase your brand purpose? You need to offer candidates an individual connection to your greater purpose by providing context to how they contribute to the bigger picture through their day-to-day tasks. 

Plus, employees that feel like their purpose is aligned with your company’s purpose are more productive. This can boost employee engagement, loyalty, wellbeing and makes your employees your brand’s greatest asset because they will speak positively about your business. 

According to research by McKinsey, 70% of employees say their sense of purpose is defined by their work. If you aren’t offering this purpose to your employees, they will leave and find it elsewhere, with your competition. 

Define your brand purpose today 

Does any of this strike a chord with you? Do you want to define your brand purpose and reap the many benefits that come with having this at the core of your business? 

Get in touch via the contact form on my website for a chat.