Why Brands Must Have a Clear Purpose

The point of marketing is to build a connection with the customer. While advertising tells the customer about the product, marketing builds a relationship with the customer.
Why Brands Must Have a Clear Purpose

Brands are no longer just about making a profit. We live in an age where consumers want transparency, social responsibility, and kindness. Brands need to have a clear purpose to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

What is Purpose?

A purpose is a reason behind the existence of a brand. It's not just about what they sell or who they sell to, but it's about why they do what they do. Brands that claim to be meaningful and purposeful, but lack specific goals and transparency, are just trying to sell products. Brands that commit themselves to social responsibility and making a difference need to tell their customers how and why they do the things they do.

Take for example the brand Dove. The bath soap brand Dove recently hired a forensic artist and got the artist to create sketches basis verbal descriptions given to them, first by the women themselves about how they look, and the second by friends and families of the same women.

The resulting sketches were not pivotal,  but the descriptions women made about their own features were a revelation. While most women described themselves with unflattering words, their friends and families used different words to describe them. This was the beginning of the positive Body Image purpose Dove aligned itself to as its purpose.

Why is Brand Purpose so Important? 

The point of marketing is to build a connection with the customer. While advertising tells the customer about the product, marketing builds a relationship with the customer. The power of marketing lies in its ability to define specifically what the brand stands for. So that it can attract an audience that shares its values and beliefs, which will then translate into increased sales, revenues, profits, and customer loyalty. 

What Does a Business with a Purpose Look Like?

For every product in the world, there's probably a company that's producing it. And for every service that exists, you can bet your bottom dollar that companies have been created to provide it. As a result, competition for our attention has never been more fierce.

A rising wave of consumers believes the brands have the resources to make a difference, stand for something bigger and better, and make a strong point of view and positive impact. Here is what a business must keep in mind with respect to brand purpose: 

It’s Not a Strategy, but the Core of your Business' Existence - The brand’s purpose is beyond the mission and vision statement, and it should not be mistaken for the CSR activities undertaken by the company. The purpose should be why the business exists, defining its role in society. 

Purpose Drives a Brand to Innovate and Act - Purpose helps you gain valuable insight into what drives you as a brand and how you would like to make a difference. For instance, the American Brand Patagonia that sells adventure and outdoor clothing nudge its consumers to mend and repair their old pair of clothing instead of buying new ones. This ascertains that their purpose to the consumers is to be environment friendly and try to save it from disaster – and not just blindly asking people to replace and buy new clothes from them.

Deeper and Meaningful Communication - Communication is the key to achieving a great brand, and it does this by connecting at a deep level with its customers. The right communication helps people understand what the Brand is all about. This helps the employees work together to move along convincing others of good values and core beliefs, thus creating a unique identity for themselves. Effective communication attracts talented employees, which helps the company achieve its mission.

Purpose and Profit Coexist - Purpose does not mean any profits. If anything, it aligns perfectly with a business’ goal to grow customer allegiances and hence profits. Such brands are more memorable to consumers, which increases their chance of being favored over other brands on the market.

Take, for example, Unilever - In 2018, they reported that Sustainable Living Brands grew 69 percent faster than the rest of the business, compared to 46 percent in 2017. Similarly, purpose-driven Patagonia reported that their revenues increased by over five times than expected, as their brand purpose was clear to the consumers - they gave away 100 percent of Black Friday sales to grassroots nonprofits working on the frontline to protect our environment for future generations. They aligned perfectly to their purpose, and the customers in turn aligned perfectly to them. 

We are at the end of the current year and the beginning of the New Year, gearing up with new strategies and policies for the coming year. The purpose is the new driving force to take your brand or business to the next level. Aligning your strategy with your purpose shows your customers that you are not just all about profits and ad campaigns but a part of something bigger trying to make your impact. 

Very few companies have a well-defined purpose. This purpose is the force that drives you to align your work with the company's purpose. The company's core values are encapsulated in this driving force. The purpose is most effective when it is integrated into the business's brand personality. Businesses grow, change, and evolve with time, and so should their business purpose. And of course, the willingness to make an impact is key. Like a Nike team member once said, “If you have a brand as powerful as Nike, you don’t need to change the world. You just have to be willing to change with it.”

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