The power of brand purpose

If you can communicate it, “purpose” is powerful. Why? Because if your purpose links to mine I’m more likely to join your cause. If it doesn’t, I will at least know where to go in future or where to refer others to should I need to.

Source: Unsplash by Nicholas Green

A brand is not a logo. “Brand” is the collective meaning that your audience attaches to your organisation. “Branding” is the attempt to manage that meaning.

Often the idea of managing meaning can be despised and looked on as a waste of time, effort and money. If you are thinking this, or having to deal with others within your leadership team that might think this, this post is for you.

In this post I want to explore the ever increasing importance of discovering and effectively seeking to communicate your brand purpose. Not only for customers but also for your internal teams. I don’t want to use fluffy words but have sort to share findings from various global reports. Numbers don’t lie.

Purpose Driven Consumers

In the 2015 Nielsen report entitled The Sustainability Imperative 66% of the 30,000 people interviewed said they were willing to pay more for sustainable brands. This is up from 55% in 2014 and 50% in 2013. As time is going on there is an increasing drive by consumers to buy from brands whose purpose aligns with sustainability. Fact.

In the 2017 Edelman Earned Brand report 50%, of the 14,000 respondents from 14 countries, 50% identified themselves as “belief-driven”. 67% of these claimed to of made a first time purchasing decision because they agreed with a brands position on a topic. 65% stated they would not buy from a brand when it stays silent on an issue they feel it has an obligation to address. What issues is your brand getting involved in? What is it you stand for and believe?

It seems that in todays busy age of material goods what we are all increasing seeking is not stuff, but meaning. This is especially the case in the western world. Brands which effectively know and communicate meaning and purpose will therefore win — IF that purpose appeals to their target audiences.

Purpose Driven Employees

Brand audiences are not always consumers. One of the biggest issues in the UK at the moment is the problem of skilled workers especially in the health sector. However to attract individuals into a profession and then attract them to your business, work needs to be done in terms of communicating purpose and meaning. Retaining staff and keeping them motivated and productive is also linked to reinforcing and living the purpose of the brand.

A recent study called ‘Purpose at Work’ that was commissioned by LinkedIn and research company, Imperative, revealed some very interesting insights. It stated that 75% of purpose-oriented people are satisfied their jobs whilst 64% who are not purpose-oriented would say they were satisfied.

Another study from 2016 stated that 87% of Millennials believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance”.

To attract purpose driven people you need to be purpose driven (above and beyond making money!).

Purpose Driven Businesses

A 2015 Harvard Business Review, sponsored by the EY Beacon Institute and entitled “The business case for purpose” reported that in the last three years, 58% of businesses that prioritised purpose experienced over 10% growth. It makes business sense to get your branding right and manage the meaning of your brands existence.

The ‘Meaningful Brands’ 2017 paper by Havas Group, reported that over the last ten years the most meaningful brands outperformed the stock market by 206%. Of the 300,000 people interviewed, 75% expected brands to make more of a contribution to their wellbeing and quality of life.

The power of purpose

So with the trends in consumers and in employees becoming ever centred around purpose there is no question that discovering, defining and then communicating purpose effectively is essential.

The facts are that ‘purpose’ effects the bottom line and if trends continue it will be almost inconceivable that businesses existed who did not know or communicate their “why”.

The management of meaning (AKA ‘branding’) is more important than ever for businesses who want to not only survive but thrive.

Matt Davies also writes about creativity, branding and marketing here