Any brand strategy that is developed and implemented without specific direction to fulfill brand purpose is selling itself short. The strategy may garner additional sales, add a point or two to the bottom line, and help make next year’s numbers. But if it isn’t focused on the purpose, it won’t build long-term value in the brand, or help create a distinct position of value and preference in the hearts and minds of your customers and end users.
Brand purpose should be at the core of everything your brand does. It should inform how the brand thinks and makes decisions. It should be the reason for every action the brand takes. And it should seek to further that purpose with every experience. A brand’s purpose is its raison d’être—its reason for being. Your brand’s strategy must start and end with that purpose.
If you can find no reason for being, then it’s likely that the brand in question is not really a brand. It might be just the name on the building or a label on a line of products. Or it might be a brand without purpose, and that makes it only a name associated with some products or services, or with a nice family story.
Brands without purpose tend to be product- or service-focused and rarely have a distinct position of value—inwardly, outwardly, or in customers’ minds. If they do provide value, it is often through features and benefits alone, or price-as-value programs, or some other relational leverage—all elements on which companies pride themselves, but that can be as fleeting as the trend du jour or fickle social media opinion.
Purpose is the guiding light. The truth of the brand. The driving force that cannot be denied.
If your brand does not have a stated purpose, then dig deep to work out what it is and start again on building a foundation for your brand based on that purpose.
Without this your brand is rudderless. It can veer off course at any time and fall victim to the most influential voice in the room. Instead, your brand must be able to argue its case and defend its territory—against competitors and against those who would be willing to undermine it and dilute it for their own gain. Nothing should deter your brand from pursuing its purpose.
So, roll up your sleeves and seek out your brand’s truth and purpose. Then develop strategies that steer your organization along that path. Aligning business and brand goals. Designing brand experiences. Creating the culture that will sustain it.
Do this and you will be on your way to joining the hallowed halls of great brands like Nike, DEWALT, Apple, Southwest Airlines, Dove, Starbucks, Yeti, Tiffany & Co., Chick-fil-A…and the list goes on.
Just one final question: Can you think of a brand within your industry with a strong purpose? One that stands above the others and is recognized for something meaningful?
Perhaps that crowning position can be yours.