Companies never thrive on metrics like cheapest prices, widest consumer reach and best products in the world, only.
It’s the brand’s purpose that sets them as a superhero in consumer’s eyes!
Orkut ruled the social media scene before 2004 then suddenly everyone rushed to sign up a Facebook account.
Why did Mark manage to pull off his startup plan so magnificently when Facebook was offering pretty much the same features as Orkut did?
Nope, it’s not the basic photo sharing, video uploading, or chatting facility but the sense of belonging that got everyone’s attention. Facebook offered a better user experience that was closer to real life than Orkut and everyone chose their new champion.
The point is…brands are not different from us, the humans, and both of us need a purpose to make sense of this life.
Pick any name from 100 best performing brands and you’ll find a brand purpose attached deep into its system.
And if you want to make your brand irresistible, don’t just do business without finding your WHY.
Come, let me explain to you why you need your WHY, your brand purpose and how it will turn your good into great.
Before we start discussing the big things a brand purpose is built around let’s start small and understand what is brand purpose. So, you can develop a better understanding of how things work in this branding realm and know the real importance of giving your brand its soul, its purpose.
A brand purpose is simply the core reason a company exists, conducts its business, and continues offering something to its target consumers.
Let’s break down this definition further with a key example, below!
Apple claims to “empower” their users in exploring their creativity and allows them to express themselves via awesome Apple products. Now, there are other companies who pretty much offer the same products but you can’t shake an Apple user’s belief in the brand.
Because Apple doesn’t just manufacture its MacBooks, iMacs, or iPhones, it makes the best products that actually caters to a user’s needs. And this has allowed Apple to remain a notable name worth $170 billion (and growing) in the market even though when there are century old conglomerates such as Samsung, Huawei and LG that offer the same products but couldn’t push Apple down from the #1 spot.
You might think “I’ve just started my brand journey. I don’t think we need a brand purpose now”.
And let me tell you that YOU’RE WRONG!
Consumers, today, not just buy but do their math before making a purchase. It means that your product won’t attract them if you don’t show the value packed inside it.
Take Nike as an example!
They sell sports products so what? Hundreds others do the same then why does everyone think of Nike when they start working out?
It’s because Nike sells the sportsmanship spirit along with their sporty products (or say, via that swoosh sign).
Let me give you some cool reasons why YOUR BRAND NEEDS A PURPOSE and that from the day one as you officially start your business activities.
Don’t just sell something, sell better things and prove your competency via your brand’s purpose. Because people always look for leaders like you when it comes to selecting a product. In simple words, having a clear brand purpose allows your brand to enjoy a leader’s status.
Take Toyota for example!
The company not just sells cars but ensures safety for their consumers, too. From SUVs to family use hatchbacks, they’ve proven this promise (of offering safe cars) and I’m sure you can name at least 3 people who own a Toyota just because of its safety features. Maybe this is the reason that Toyota is a notable place in the industry (and has the largest automotive market share, too).
Thinking about your brand’s purpose allows you to identify your unique sides, your USPs and you can pose your brand as a different, as a better choice. You can work on your brand with a fresh approach just by having a well-defined purpose from the very beginning which can be your marketing edge.
For example, there are several retail companies but Walmart is known for offering budget-friendly products.
The brand exists to make people’s lives easier, free from financial challenges and offers its products at lowest prices. And this has earned it a respected status in the retail industry, too.
An important read for you: 7 Brand Loyalty Secrets You Must Know as a Startup
Would you like to make a few billions and vanish away from the scene or make your brand immortal even after your life?
Having a brand purpose makes your profits a secondary objective that is visible to your consumers and gets applause from them.
Think of Google that started with a noble cause to make information available for all and look where it stands today. Google is a wonderful example of how embedding a brand purpose in your business activities can help your brand stay stronger and give you an edge over your consumers. Because there was Yahoo before Google that is not very dear to a user these days when it comes to online search.
Sure, we think via our brains but we take decisions from our hearts!
And don’t forget that it’s not you but your consumers who decide if your brand is the right option or not. So, having a brand purpose gives it an emotional edge that people prefer to seek in a company they buy from.
There are several coffee houses but why do everyone wait at the nearest Starbucks before catching the train to work?
It’s because they believe that Starbucks fulfills its promise every day, at every cup.
Starbucks thrives at its humanistic culture that aims at everyone’s well being rather than focusing on the organization’s profits, only.
In short, your brand purpose allows your brand to develop emotional relations with the consumers.
We’ve talked about what is the brand purpose and why it is important so let’s move on and discuss the main topic.
HOW TO DEFINE YOUR BRAND’S PURPOSE?
Let me walk you through down the alley to discover your WHY, your motivation to do what you do best.
Here are some interesting points to ponder while you try to understand your brand’s core purpose and make it one of the most successful, most celebrated brands in your industry.
Sometimes the answer is right there in front of us yet we miss to spot it!
If you want to discover your brand’s true purpose, spare some time to study your consumers. Because your consumers hold more answers than any brand success book would do. Seek out their pain points, see if your solutions are solving their problems and most of all if you’re doing it in the best way possible?
Look at Netflix for instance!
The company started out as a DVD rental service back in the 2000s mostly focusing on Blu Ray CDs but then streaming services started to get popular. Reed Hastings, Netflix’s founder and CEO, saw an opportunity in this changing consumer tastes and started offering about 500 movies online. His move proved right as everyone welcomed the idea and today Netflix is one of the most popular (and international) OTT platforms with about $228 billion market cap.
Once you know what your consumers seek (or prefer to have), it’s time to work on other circles to finally know your brand’s sweet spot.
Start asking yourself:
Write these questions down on a circle overlapping each other and you’ll find your WHY somewhere in the center (or what we say in marketing lingo, the sweet spot).
Take Ray Kroc (McDonald’s founder) as an example!
During those times, fast food wasn’t that “fast” and he was the first to spot this weird slow food making process.
He changed some internal functions and guaranteed the fastest delivery without the need to check-in. This idea instantly clicked to drivers who prefer to eat their Hamburgers in the car. And here McDonald’s stood firm on no.1 spot for half the century.
While you work on your brand’s purpose, think of something that would remain relevant for the next 100 years.
Because you wouldn’t want to barge in just to seek everyone’s attention and later change your company’s focus as it would be noted as a negative side of your brand. Think of something concrete that would remain visible in your brand’s personality for years to come.
In the last 100 years, we’ve seen many fashion trends come and fade away but there was one brand who stood firm on its promise, Chanel.
You’d find one particular quality in Chanel’s products that focuses on women and their premium attires. Think of something as Coco Chanel did and proved herself a true visionary entrepreneur even after her death.
Sure, you can be a man with a vision but you need people to make that vision a reality!
Your brand purpose won’t work until everybody associated with you becomes a part of it. Because companies never run on one man’s shoulder and it is the staff, the team members who make things work via combined efforts. And you need to make everyone believe in that purpose!
For instance, Amazon started out as an online book store but now they sell pretty much everything!
Jeff Bezos did start alone but Amazon has employed more than 1.2 million minds to keep the organization working and meet the “Same-Day-Delivery” possible.
You should give it a read also: Understanding the Importance of Visual Identity for Brand Success
And lastly, you need to constantly check on your brand’s activities if they’re in line with the purpose that you’re defining today.
Because people would be quick to point out if you backtrack on your brand’s purpose and this can give you a bad name.
Suppose, Subway stops offering manual selection option for its consumers when it has built its reputation around this competitive edge over KFC, McDonalds and Burger King. Do you think people would receive it in a positive way?
So, stick to your words once you take a pledge, start a mission or do something revolutionary for the society.
I hope you now know how to define your brand’s purpose and wish that your brand grows and reaches new horizons of success.
Just remember your brand’s purpose lies between what you really love to do and what your core consumers find missing in present products.
Seek that and you’re good to go!
If you’re still rather confused about how to define your brand’s purpose, folks at FullStop. would be glad to extend their help. Adios!
Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.
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