Purpose-driven brands outperform those that don’t express one.
A brand purpose articulates an organisation’s reason for being. It captures why the brand matters and how it benefits the wider world. It captures the organisation’s fundamental belief and goal that stakeholders feel inspired by.
Put another way, a brand’s function is what it does, and brand purpose is why it does it.
The power of purpose
Many of the world’s most admired organisations have a clearly articulated purpose. KPMG’s purpose is to help clients inspire confidence and empower change. LEGO’s is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. Oxfam’s is a world without poverty. A brand purpose lets employees, shareholders and customers understand the organisation’s key values in a clear, simple way.
Stating purpose and working towards it has positive effects on business performance. EY found that companies operating with a clear and driving sense of purpose outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of 10 over a period of 15 years. Meanwhile, Jim Stengel’s book Grow notes that its pick of 50 brands that expressed its purpose the clearest had their stock value increase 393% over a decade.
Purpose also has strong influence over decision-making. Edelman found that 65% of discerning consumers buy into brands based on their own beliefs, and that 57% boycott brands based on its position on a social or political issue.
A brand purpose lets employees, shareholders and customers understand the organisation’s key values in a clear, simple way.
The purpose of purpose
Purpose attracts like-minded individuals to your organisation, inspires enthusiastic investors, and is key to assuring discerning customers that your brand is making positive change in the world that’s relevant to their own values.
The most important consideration for purpose? A successful purpose must be real, and the organisation must always uphold it. People recognise lack of authenticity and when organisations fall short of practising what they preach.
The wholehearted brand builder seeks to identify and articulate a brand purpose that’s true and worth believing in. The most effective brand purpose for businesses is a simple, unpretentious aim that aligns positive social impact with business efforts.
The most effective brand purpose for businesses is a simple, unpretentious aim that aligns positive social impact with business efforts.
Finding your purpose
Purpose begins with asking why. Why would someone choose to work at my organisation over another? Why are our efforts important for the wider world?
The answers to these questions must come from the leader. Great leaders inspire people to something bigger than themselves. They kindle the big, transcendent idea to move the organisation forward and effect change in the world.
The challenge for the brand builder is to articulate and amplify the ambitions and values of leadership in a way that inspires people to work towards a shared higher goal.
Purpose is always present in the organisation. The wholehearted brand builder seeks balance in how it’s expressed implicitly and explicitly, as a compass guiding the team and a magnet attracting customers and collaborators.
It’s important that your brand signals value. But it’s also necessary to manifest and express the deeper values that make a more meaningful impression in people’s minds.