Be Intentionally Purposeful. Do It With Purpose. Live Your Why.

The purpose of brand purpose and the power that comes with it. Including how to articulate a purpose statement.

(Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash)

Everyone is asking the same question:

What is the purpose of brand purpose?

Here’s my view, for what it’s worth.

Whatever industry you’re in, your job as marketer, strategist, and creative is not to sell products. Above all else, our job consists in conveying the emotional benefits that come with using such products.

Therefore, having a clear purpose makes our job more meaningful but also more efficient because we can continuously gauge whether the work is worth doing and on point.

How? By asking the question: will this advance our purpose in the short and long term?

Before going any further.

Brand Purpose is the truth about why you exist as a brand in the first place and the position you take in the world.

$ Brand Purpose Has Become The New Currency. $

Purpose is the new imperative if companies wish to survive, let alone thrive.

New generations of consumers are making informed decisions about how they consume and what brands they buy into. They are wary of the impact companies have on the world. They expect companies to do business in a socially repsonsible manner and to be public about it. They also demand companies to be clear about the reason why they exist.

As a result, companies, including those in the advertising industry, are destined to change their business and marketing models if they wish to build meaningful relationships with this new breed of consumers who are driving the world forward.

The right step in that direction is for companies to clearly define and communicate that higher order purpose of existence and demonstrate through every action they take that they have a deep consideration for the world we live in, and the people in it.

That’s not brainwashing, that’s just where the world is heading.

Because doing good leads to doing well — and profit-making will come naturally as a ripple effect.

Sadly, not all companies with a purpose are being purposeful about it. Many companies use purpose as a marketing instrument in an attempt to stay competitive and relevant with today’s enlightened consumers.

The Misconceptions of Brand Purpose:

1/ Purpose is a strategy
In today’s world, consumers demand to know why a business is doing what it is doing. Therefore, a business without a purpose is destined to disappear.

Let’s first define strategy. Strategy is a plan designed to achieve goals. In other words, it’s a set of choices or decisions to achieve something. Purpose is no longer a choice, but an inevitability.

Therefore, purpose is NOT a strategy.

The question is no longer whether a company should have a purpose, the question is what should one purpose be.

Also, a strategy should evolve for a brand to remain relevant to the ever-changing world in which it operates. In contrast, a brand purpose must look far out into the future. It may slightly change but should never take a pivotal turn.

2/ Purpose is strictly connected to social responsibility and sustainability
This is another misconception. Purpose is the reason for a brand to exist beyond making money. Okay, we got that. Does it mean corporate social responsibility or sustainability? By no means.

Some may prefer to be socially responsible and sustainable in the way they do business. In such cases, that’s great, we need more of those.

Others may prefer as a brand purpose to challenge the status-quo, or inspire people to become athletes, or even bring out the adventurous energy in all of us.

And that’s also okay. These iconic brands are actually some of the most purposeful brands I know of. Because they clearly communicate their “why”.

Are they socially responsible? …You get my point.

A simple framework to finding a complex system.

Simon Sinek’s model, The Golden Circle, provides a simple framework to uncover a company’s complex belief system which is attributed to the “why”.

The simplicity of such an approach seems to have created the impression that brand purpose can be hacked in a half-day workshop.

To me, those who believe it can be done within such a short timeframe only scratch the surface.

As the saying goes, the more you dig, the more you find.

Sinek’s approach is not changing the way brands are being created either. It’s changing how we perceive brands. If they communicate clearly their “why”.

Simon Sinek on How great leaders inspire action.

Another model I found applicable to finding your brand purpose is the Ikigai model which can also help you reach a balance between the spiritual and practical, even in a business setting. You should give it a try.

How To Articulate a Brand Purpose Statement.

Many stakeholder interviews need to take place, including a profound analysis of the 4 x Cs (Company > Category > Consumer > Cultural), before one can arrive at a clear articulation of a purpose statement. It also takes a lot of listening and asking the right questions, the challenging ones.

How to articulate a brand purpose statement.

Should this be done at the inception of a company? The obvious answer is yes.

Can it be done retroactively? The less obvious answer is also yes.

But that new articulation of the purpose must remain in line with what the company has done in the past, including what the company is doing now. Otherwise, that’s just a lie.

A brand purpose must be believed in and acted upon otherwise it’s just another fancy statement on a piece of paper.

Why Is Brand Purpose So Powerful?

It’s about intent. it’s about behavior. It guides how a brand acts and feels. It keeps everyone involved in the process in check. It’s the way forward.

Every employee has the responsibility to adopt and take ownership of it.

It’s the genuine story you want to live, activate, and shout out to the world with pride and without the fear of being judged. Be it socially responsible or not.

The purpose of brand purpose is to bring those who share the same values on a journey with meaning.

Bastien Frediani is a strategy consultant helping startups, companies, and brands find their way. Say hello at bastienfrediani@gmail.com, follow him on Medium Bastien Frediani and on Twitter @bast1nou. Found this article useful? 👏 and share the love.