illustrated word "Why"
July 25th, 2017

What’s Your Brand’s Purpose? (And Why It Is Important To Know It)

More today than ever before we live in a world of moments. Moments that give insights into a richer future. Moments that arouse curiosity, ingenuity, determination, and courage. The insights these moments reveal inspire our team to create and design compelling experiences for your brand and products. Knowing that today, anything is possible. This is why our brand exists. How about yours?

A brand should exist to project and reflect the positive difference it can make in people’s lives. It is manifested through the tangible brand experiences it creates for those people. Purpose helps to guide the fidelity of brand, especially today when the meaning and value of a brand has the potential to outweigh its functional benefit. Brand is tribal, and purpose of brand becomes the connective tissue that bonds the members of your brand tribe. Authenticity and transparency are requirements of every brand today. The clarity and simplicity of purpose provide the platform for your brand attributes to resonate.

As I mentioned last month in a white paper on talent and courage, purpose cannot be separated from design. Otherwise, it is merely art. Brands with purpose reflect not only a higher quality and intent, they also perform better in the marketplace. Take these three examples:


Its stated purpose is “To connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.” Service is what Southwest is all about. They just happen to use airplanes to demonstrate how they feel about people. Southwest set 4th quarter and record annual profit in 2016, while recording its 44th consecutive year of profitability.


Nike’s purpose is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (and everybody is an athlete).” Nike again is the world’s most valuable apparel brand, listed at $32 billion, and ranks 18th in Interbrand’s 2016 Global Rankings of all brands.


Apple’s purpose is simply “To empower creative exploration and self-expression.” According to a recent Forbes article, “Apple is the world’s most valuable brand for the seventh straight year, worth $170 billion by Forbes’ count and 67% more than second-ranked Google. Apple stands alone for its ability to generate massive profits through premium pricing and insatiable demand for its products around the globe.”

According to John Rudaizky, partner and global brand and external communications leader at Ernst and Young, “Purpose is about what you do and not what you say, and within the board room it has become a business transformation idea rather than a loose wrap-around at a brand level.” A 2015 study by Harvard Business Review and Ernst and Young showed that companies with a strong sense of purpose are able to transform and innovate better, as well as improve employee satisfaction. “Purpose is about galvanizing and driving people forward. What we found is that overall if people have a greater sense of purpose, profit will follow.”

But brand purpose is about much more than just profitability. The above examples of brand purpose are also excellent examples of complete brand ecosystems within their organizations. Where purpose was first built and then expressed internally to create a culture—a construct that believing in the brand and making certain that the brand strategy was aligned with business goals to create a particular trajectory—one that would bring about and influence cultural behavior.

Back to the tribal thing. Creating a community around a brand and reflecting the fidelity of that brand in every single touchpoint. These are the brand experiences that are created from the reflection of brand purpose, resulting in meaning, value, preference, and profit.

And that is why it is important for you to know yours.

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