Having a purpose behind your brand is not a new revelation. Long before the Supreme Court ruled that corporations can be viewed as people businesses were relying on their purpose-driven brand to gain a foothold in their industry.
If we take a trip through history, we can look at multiple points to see this played out. In Ancient Greece, Hellenic cities required businesses looking to open to declare how their business would benefit the community. In the late Fifteenth century, Florence merchants and bankers often were great patrons of the arts. In other words, having a purpose behind your brand is not a new business theory.
So what is your brand purpose?
When finding your brand purpose you are answering the big question of “Why does your brand exist?” When answering that question, you may also find the underlying motivation for why you are in the career you are in or why you started the business you did. Now you may be thinking this is just another meta experiment to reach some level of Zen or peace in your mind. But there are hard facts that back up why being a purpose-driven brand is not only good for your community but good for our pocketbooks as well, I believe it’s what they call a “win, win.”
According to a survey done by the Edelman, 87 percent of people surveyed believe business should place equal weight on society’s interests and their own business goals.
A Deloitte survey stated that 61% of recent graduates are likely to factor a company’s commitment to sustainability into their decision of choosing between two jobs in the same geographical location, pay, and benefits. When you consider these stats you start to see the work that needs to be done.
In another study, 70 percent of people think that companies and brands should play a role in improving our quality of life and well-being. However, just 24 percent of people agree that companies and brands are working hard at improving this. In fact, just 32 percent of people surveyed trust companies and brands anyway. So how does a business address these growing concerns of their customers? How does a business find and implement the correct purpose behind their brand?
Take a look at the five ideas below to help get you on your way to building a purpose-driven brand.
Building a brand around empathy
Empathy can be defined as “the act of perceiving, understanding, experiencing, and responding to the emotional state and ideas of another person.” The best brands know their consumers well enough that they can interlace the brand with the causes and concerns that resonate best. Developing your brand around these concerns and wants of your customers can be the first step to creating brand with a purpose. The guidepost for many of your decisions going forward can be this empathic brand model.
Your Big Hairy Audacious Goal
Otherwise known as BHAG, the big idea is what consumers connect with first. A Big Hairy Audacious Goal is a business statement similar to your vision statement. We create BHAGs to focus an organization on a single goal which is audacious, but not impossible. Behind the big idea are the elements of your brand’s positioning. This goal is often looked at externally as impossible, but as you strive towards this goal you can connect your followers to your journey and accomplishments.
Stand for something or watch your business fall for everything
The culture of the organization must steer the people who will deliver the experience. If your employees don’t believe or buy into what you are selling, then your customers definitely will not either. Drinking the Kool-Aid of employee culture is the key to bringing a purpose that brings out the best values of your business naturally. Your staff will become the face of the brand, and they will deliver your purpose and create loyalty with the consumer while they do it.
Actions speak louder than words
Once you have figured out your purpose, and you have defined your BHAG, the next step is to start executing on those ideas. Surprisingly this is a step that companies are the worst at. It’s one thing to say you want to make your city, state, country, and the world better, it’s another thing to do actually do it. These actions and accomplishments will make your customers fiercely loyal, and in fact become evangelists for your brand.
Let’s not over do it though, okay?
Here’s the catch, sometimes purposes are annoying, and sometimes people don’t agree with your purpose. Sometimes we need to be tactful about our purpose and realize that a company’s first and foremost purpose is to serve our customers in the best possible way. We don’t want the consumer to tire of this tactic and begin rejecting every story, including those rare cases when the brand purpose actually matters.
Give your customers a reason to love your brand. The brand’s purpose must be able to explain why the people who work behind the scenes of the brand come to work every day so energized and ready to over-deliver on the brand’s behalf. Your brand’s purpose is a big mix of meeting your follower’s needs, fulfilling your own needs in life, and standing behind your company’s values.