In today’s world, it’s not enough for a business to simply sell a product or service. Consumers and businesses are looking for much more from the organisations they choose to buy from. They want to know their money is going to a business that stands for something that goes beyond simply making a profit for its shareholders. That’s where brand purpose comes in.
Whilst many marketers espouse the idea of brand purpose, it has its fair share of detractors who label it as nonsense. I’ve been a brand manager and I’ve certainly felt this way in my time. I have a different opinion now and purpose is something we talk about a lot at GrowTraffic. But it’s always good to really consider these things. So, does purpose really work for brands?
Brand purpose is the reason a business exists beyond making money. It’s the mission that drives everything the company does. A strong brand purpose can help a business stand out in a crowded market, build customer loyalty and attract and retain talent.
But it’s not just enough to have a brand purpose. To truly make an impact in the world, a business needs to use its brand purpose in its marketing efforts. In this article, we’ll explore why brand purpose matters and how to use it in your marketing.
Why Brand Purpose Matters
In recent years, consumers have become more socially and environmentally conscious. They want to know the businesses they support share their values. In fact, a study by Edelman found 64% of consumers around the world will buy from or boycott a brand based on its stance on a social or political issue.
Research from Accenture shows 62 percent of young consumers are buying from brands/businesses that take a stand on social, cultural, environmental and political issues close to their hearts.
Leo Burnett’s study on what he calls ‘Humankind Brands’ shows that purpose-driven brands have a better performance than businesses that don’t put any emphasis on branding.
Unilever made all their brands purpose-driven and created the idea of ‘Sustainable Living Brands.’ The organisation claims its purpose-driven brands grew 69 percent faster and delivered 75 percent of their growth.
But it’s not just consumers who care about brand purpose. Employees also want to work for businesses that have a strong mission beyond simply making money. A survey by LinkedIn found 71% of professionals would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that aligns with their values.
In addition to attracting customers and employees, a strong brand purpose also helps a business stand out in a crowded market. When there are multiple companies selling similar products or services, having a strong mission can be the deciding factor for a customer choosing one brand over another.
How To Use Brand Purpose In Your Marketing
Now we’ve established why brand purpose matters to a business, let’s explore how to use it in your marketing efforts.
The Right Timing
As with a lot of things in marketing, there is an element of luck when it comes to using purpose in your brand marketing. Arguably, the best purpose-based brand businesses are those that have been around for a bit. Every brand starts out in the unknown phase and later becomes known for doing good thing. Later they become not for doing things that people really care about. This means moving from the awareness phase, through to the promise phase and later the purpose phase. Crucially, you can’t do purpose in a fast-track manner; it needs commitment and consistency.
The first and most important step in using brand purpose in your marketing is to be authentic. Customers can see through any attempt to jump on a social or environmental bandwagon without a genuine commitment to the cause.
To be authentic, start by identifying your company’s core values and mission. Then, ensure every marketing effort aligns with these values. This means not only in your messaging but also in your actions as a company.
Tell Your Story
A powerful way to communicate your brand purpose is by telling your company’s story. Share how your business got started, what drives you and what impact you hope to make. This humanizes your brand and helps customers connect with your mission on a deeper level.
Differentiation And Relevance
Your brand purpose has to be unique and it’s got to be different from what your competitors are doing. One of the things we always say is we’re the antidote to SEO agencies. It’s quite a challenging thing to say. Our mission is to make sure businesses aren’t ripped off by some of the charlatan SEO agencies out there giving our industry a bad name. This message also has to be relevant to your customers. For example, our message has been relevant for the last decade or so. I am always conscious our industry is professionalising and we have to be careful our position doesn’t end up not being relevant.
Walking The Talk
Of course, you’ve got to make sure your brand’s commitment to purpose isn’t just a bit of marketing activity. It should be genuinely authentic to the point that everyone in the company believes it. If you have certain brand terminology it should be spoken at the board and taken through to the sales calls and the customer service comms. You’ve got to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Aim to make a difference in the world.
Your customers can sniff out bullshit a million miles away and there’s nothing that will destroy your credibility quicker than telling someone you’re one thing and later them finding out you’re something else entirely.
Collaborate With Like-Minded Organizations
Partnering with organizations that share your values can amplify your message and help you reach a wider audience. It also shows your brand is committed to making a real impact beyond just marketing. There’s a sound business benefit to this as well because it’s just easier to work with businesses that share your values and work in similar ways that you do.
Incorporate Brand Purpose Into Your Branding
Incorporating your brand purpose into your branding is a powerful way to communicate it to customers. This can be done through your logo, tagline or any visual representation of your brand. For example, if your brand purpose is to reduce waste, you might incorporate a recycling symbol into your logo, you might want to use green in your branding, and you might want to use a modern sans-serif font. All this will communicate a forward-looking business committed to green recycling. It’s just about understanding your brand and understanding your customers’ semiological understandings.
Use Social Media
Social media is a good tool for communicating your brand purpose. You should use your channels to share your values and mission, as well as any initiatives or partnerships that support it. You should also engage with the customers who share your values and create a community around your mission. It’s important you don’t just broadcast to your customers and actively engage with them.
Make Branding A Part Of Your Marketing
My take on it is brand purpose is not just a buzzword; it’s a strategy that has proven to be effective for many brands In today’s world, brand purpose matters more than ever. Consumers and employees want to support companies that stand for something beyond making a profit. By identifying your company’s core values and mission and incorporating it into your marketing efforts, you can build customer loyalty, attract top talent and make a real impact in the world.