LONG LIVE PURPOSE.
Brand Purpose Aka your raison d’etre, or your whole deal.
The ‘Why Are You Here, Beyond Making Money’ question.
A brand purpose is essentially a brand’s motivation. Some equate it to a mission statement but it’s also your positioning. It takes everything from external elements like culture, competition, and customers and what you stand for and rolls it into one big ‘HELL YEH’ statement for you to rally around.
But recently ‘Purpose’ has been the latest target of ‘debunked marketing trends’. It’s gotten bad PR and been unfairly attributed as your ‘cause.’ It’s found itself in a grey area. A middle zone between ‘do we even need it’ and ‘we can’t live without it’.
Recent research suggests that purpose is not a major driving factor in decision-making.
But when you dig deeper into the research there’s more to tell.
ESSENTIALLY, BRAND PURPOSE IS STILL MISUNDERSTOOD.
What the data shows is that much like everything in the world, if you do a s**t job, it’s not effective. But if you invest the effort to do it right, the benefits are beyond your expectations.
What this graph shows is that ineffective brand purpose hurts more than it helps.
Solid, meaningful brand purpose moves your brand into another tier and out-performs everything else.
So how do you ensure your brand purpose doesn’t read like AI wrote it??
Some cold hard realities about brand purpose:
- It’s not easy
If it’s not obvious, no brand should be spouting generalities like ‘we connect people’ and call it their purpose. Purpose, why, mission, whatever you want to call it, is a rallying cry for your company. If you aren’t investing the effort in making it distinctly different, ask yourself why you are doing it.
Your purpose is your difference.
- It's not a nice thing to say
Much like company values, generalities are boring and unimpactful. As many times as we have heard ‘‘integrity’ stated as a company value—it’s not one—we have heard ‘we care’ listed as a brand purpose. Integrity is not a company value because it is a given. Are you hiring people that don’t have integrity? No. Company values have to be truly unique things that only your company values—not just decent-human-being traits. ‘We care’ is not your brand purpose for the same reason. It is a generally assumed belief that brands aren’t there to rip you off and not care. Purpose can’t be a nice thing you want to say and it can’t be a pay-to-play. Get specific, get detailed, get into the nitty gritty and own it.
Your purpose must be true and ownable only to you.
- It’s not charity
Causes are great. But they aren’t your purpose. Mental health, women-rights, race equity, climate change? Donate to them, live the values but unless these are directly connected to you as a founder or to the operations of your business then they are causes you support, they don’t qualify as your brand purpose. The former is admirable, the latter is opportunistic. Consumers can smell opportunistic from a mile—it’s not cute.
Purpose must be intrinsic to your brand.
- It’s not a CSR program
Successful brand purpose is holistic and integrated. It drives decisions, it’s factored into all things. Gone are the days where you can do one thing on the left and behave differently on the right. If purpose isn’t IN your brand you are better off accepting you simply sell goods and are there to make a profit and that’s that. Consumers would rather hear that than say one thing and act another. In short, it’s better lived than said.
Purpose integrated into the operations of your business
- It’s not a nice to have
The power of purpose is that it gives you words to define your unique brand position in a powerful way. It allows you to consider that your brand position is not just a tool for market and category difference but an opportunity to shape culture.
PURPOSE IS NOT DEAD. PURPOSE IS POWERFUL IF YOU PUT IN THE TIME TO DO IT RIGHT.
QUESTION IS: ARE YOU READY TO PUT IN THE WORK TO GET TO YOUR TRUE AND DISTINCT BRAND PURPOSE.
LONG LIVE PURPOSE.
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