Let’s say a company spent a lot on getting their name and brand established- they create a name, a logo, a tagline that makes a great promise the company intends to fulfil. They wove the brand name into their company culture to internally reflect their core values.
They wrangle over the color scheme, picking some and discarding others. They launch the brand with a flurry of advertisements across print and digital. Soon, everything is working.
Time to relax, right?
We don’t think so. The best kind of branding is an ongoing effort that never stops. You affirm and reaffirm your brand with everything you say, show, or do.
Where It All Begins- Brand Purpose
What is the ‘why’ behind your business?
As companies try to differentiate their brand in overcrowded industries, the purpose-driven brand stands out. For sure, it attracts eyeballs but more than that it earns customer loyalty based on a strong foundation of shared values.
While your products, services, and marketing campaigns are critical to your brand, your purpose is literally your definition. It’s what your audience associates with you, invariably.
A brand’s purpose is the ‘why’ behind its existence. The purpose is the reason why customers share emotions and connection with the brand. Your brand purpose, when reflected in your messaging, can inspire loyalty, drive your customers to relate to you, stick with you, and wave your flag.
A brand’s purpose cannot be its mission, vision, or even its values. To craft a compelling and motivating brand purpose, dwell over your:
- Ideology – Gain a complete view of your ideology. What are the things you stand for and against? What are the things you will consistently voice opinions for? A strong brand purpose doesn’t refresh every couple of years. Consider Nike, the company with the purpose to get you out of adversity, on your feet, and ready to face the world. Consistently, time and again, Nike has reaffirmed its brand purpose- it stands for bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
- Context – The things that matter to you as an organization will also matter to your audience. With that in mind, aim to become a brand with a purpose that defines your cultural and competitive context. The resonance with your audience is based on the issues that matter the most to your customers as they relate to the Purpose. Evernote can be defined as a company with apps and cloud-based software solutions for note-keeping. But, they created a contextual brand purpose- to give people the time and freedom to focus on what matters by helping them to live more organized lives. Evernote’s logo is an elephant with a bend in its ear- which signifies that the animal that we know never forgets, is listening.
- Real Value – A purpose-driven brand gets noticed and followed because it solves real problems for its audience. Dove doesn’t deliver beauty products around the world- they aim to make “normal” women feel special and extraordinary- they want to defy stereotypical standards of beauty. Range Rover doesn’t sell cars; they feed and attract people who love adventures. These brands have a real value they want to keep on delivering. That is their purpose.
Brand purpose makes your brand relevant and necessary to your customers. How well a brand solves a need, creates loyalty, affinity, and connection with its customers separates the winners from the losers.
The Body Shop is another brand that lives its purpose. The brand occupies a meaningful place among its customers and catapults its growth.
Too many brands fear polarizing customers by consistently putting out their purpose. By doing so, they neglect their origins and struggle to evolve their ‘why’ as they grow.
Common Brand Purpose Errors Companies Make
Are you guilty of any of these?
- Polluting Purpose with Business Interest – Take the Volkswagon emissions scandal. The company deceived regulators on emissions from diesel cars for a short-term gain. It sold and promoted vehicles as ‘clean alternatives”. Soon, what started as a sordid story of Volkswagen fitting cars with a defeat device snowballed into a global scandal that made its loyal customers lose trust in the brand. VW’s focus on clean vehicles was driven more by their business interests rather than a belief in doing what’s inherently right and justified. You need an authentic purpose- one that your brand would die defending.
- Keeping Purpose Stuck on the Wall – Your brand purpose might hold a prominent spot in your organization’s four walls, framed in a decent, sophisticated manner. But, if it’s never active in strategies, tactics, in conversations, and discussions, it might as well not even exist. Your brand purpose needs to be alive in daily work and decisions. Keep conversations alive about ‘why’ you are doing what you are.
- Promoting a Purpose Not Already Present – Brands often mistakenly take their brand purpose as another marketing campaign. They view purpose as a means of making more money, gaining more traction, and converting more customers. If your brand purpose is not embedded in all that you do, it is not effective. To truly leverage a brand purpose, augment a value that already lies at the core of your brand, instead of promoting something you don’t align with. If your marketing team creates a purpose out of line with your brand’s reality, cynicism will set in among employees and reflect in what you present to your customers. Live your purpose, as they say.
- Death by causes – In the rush to target the conscious customer, brands today align themselves with the cause of the day. They support charities. Their PR teams work overtime to associate them with social commentary and movements. Of course, this delivers value to the cause. But does it for the brand? Not unless the cause itself rings true with the Purpose of the brand. Otherwise, the charity is just another marketing campaign. And its impact will last only until the next cause celebre comes along.
In a nutshell, any disconnect between your brand purpose and your day-to-day actions can breed distrust in customers and do you more harm than good. Therefore, creating a brand purpose that resonates with your organization is critical to its success. Steer clear of these common errors and manifest your purpose the best way you can.
Looking to define a clear Purpose for your brand? Write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org