Why does your business exist? If your answer is “to make money,” that’s not quite correct. Sure, money matters when sustaining a business, but that’s not what your brand’s purpose is.
The brand purpose, or “why” of your business, is how you build an emotional connection between your brand and audience. It’s the reason your brand exists, the problem you want to solve, or your intent to improve lives.
Being clear and strong with your brand purpose and using it to create connections with your customer should inform all that your brand does in the future, including your marketing strategy and your company culture.
Understanding Brand Purpose
Brand communication is used to go in one direction: the business to the customers. Brands had the freedom to dictate the relationship and didn’t necessarily consider customer preferences. If a customer didn’t like it, they could go elsewhere.
Now, consumers matter. The increased conversations and opportunities for consumers to connect with brands online allowed consumers to share their opinions and make a difference, often by strength in numbers.
Brands had to pay attention and find ways to get back in the good graces of their customers, often by correcting practices that were turning off their audience.
Why does Purpose Matter to Customers?
Humans are driven by purpose and meaning. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we all have physiological needs, safety needs, the need for love and belonging, the need for esteem, and the need for self-actualization. This is the desire to fulfill your potential, or your purpose.
All people are aware of purpose and place, and often seek relationships with others who align with their beliefs and values. This also applies to brands as “people.”
As brands become more “human” and representative of a person with personality, tone, and ideals, consumers are looking for brands that share their values as part of a social group.
Why Do Brands Need Purpose?
Consumers are more in touch with brands than they once were, due to the internet and social media. They have an outlet to share their grievances and opinions on brands and their practices, and as a result, brands are shifting their practices to address the complaints of their customer base.
Brands aren’t dictating the relationship any longer. Consumers have the power, and strategic brands are putting effort into satisfying their customers and their needs. Sometimes, it’s about a product, but other times, it’s about social justice or ethical practices.
How to Inspire and Connect with Brand Purpose?
The next big wave in brand purpose came from the viral Ted Talk from Simon Sinek in 2009. Often referenced, the “Start with Why” talk and the idea of the Golden Circle stuck with business leaders and pushed brands toward more purpose.
To this day, the Sinek Ted Talk is one of the most watched in history and his book is a staple in branding experience and marketing.
What it all boils down to is considering the “why” in branding and the reasons some brands succeed while others fail. Apple is the example Sinek uses since according to him, consumers buy into the “why” of what Apple does.
And in a nutshell, this is your brand purpose. You may know what you do and how you do it, but you may not know why you do what you do. It’s not profits, but a purpose that you have for being in business.
No matter what industry you’re in or where you are with your business, understanding the why is vital to your communication and connection with customers.
Here are some questions to ask:
● Why did you start your business?
● What do you have that your competitors do not?
● How do you want to be known as a brand?
● What problems are you trying to solve?
● What change do you want to inspire?
● What change do you want to see in your industry?
● What changes would your customers want to see?
How to Write a Brand Purpose Statement?
Having an abstract idea of your purpose is the start of creating a clear, concise, and impactful brand purpose statement.
With the previous questions, have you noticed a pattern or theme among them? Can you make it a concise sentence?
Our brand purpose is to [contribution] so that [impact]
It may take a few tries, but this gets your brain working to come up with a unique and impactful brand purpose.
Here are some excellent examples of brand purposes that inspire the customer:
Warby Parker is a wildly successful startup that began in 2010. From its start, the brand has a simple and straightforward purpose:
To make eyewear more affordable
The full purpose statement is:
To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
These words resonate, but what really matters is that Warby Parker followed through. After running an eyewear non-profit previously, one of the founders wanted to create affordable eyewear. Warby Parker also supports its cause with charitable programs like “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair.”
Crayola is a well-known brand with another exceptional example of a brand purpose that resonates, which is:
To unleash the originality in every child
This brand’s purpose is inspiring to the employees and the consumers. It makes everything seem possible and limitless. This purpose also inspires customers to push their own boundaries of creativity, which is integral to a company that offers arts and crafts supplies.
Dove is unique in that it was one of the first beauty brands to celebrate real, authentic beauty with the purpose statement:
To help women everywhere develop a positive relationship with the way they look, helping them realize their full potential
Dove also backs this up with marketing campaigns that celebrate authentic beauty and body positivity, such as the 2004 Campaign for Real Beauty. This campaign showcased women of all sizes, colors, and shapes as real and diverse standards of beauty.
Discover Your Purpose
Defining a brand purpose may be one of the most difficult aspects of establishing your brand, but it’s essential to building a strong brand strategy that sets you apart from your competitors and fuels your future growth.