Does your brand have a bigger purpose?

Thinking about your brand’s purpose will bring clarity, direction, and valuable business outcomes.

Diana Lillicrap 1.30.2020

What if I told you there was one powerful branding technique you could use to foster a positive company culture, increase productivity, create meaningful connections with customers, and ultimately lead to improved financial outcomes?

It might sound like magic, but it’s not. It happens when an organization finds a connection to its bigger purpose and then uses that to guide the way they work.

What is purpose?

Let’s start by defining what we mean by purpose. A company’s purpose should identify its reason for existing. What does it contribute to the world (beyond just widgets or services)? What does it believe it is doing that is good for business, good for employees, good for customers, and good for the world? Being able to clearly articulate your bigger purpose is what will define your brand and drive your culture.

At its core, a bigger purpose is a statement of belief that everyone within the company should full-heartedly embrace. Let me give you a few examples.

The bigger purpose for Warby Parker, the online retailer that sells affordable glasses, is that everyone has a right to see.

The North Face, seller of mountaineering apparel and equipment, believes exploration helps you create a bond with the outdoors and inspires you to protect it.

Blue Apron, creator of fresh meals delivered to your door, believes they are building a better food system.

All of these companies are making stuff, providing services, and driving toward earning a profit, but their bigger purposes are just that—bigger.

Why does it matter?

Ok, so that all sounds nice, but honestly, why does it matter if you have a clear purpose or not? Because purpose-driven organizations tend to outperform others in the market. In fact, according to a Harvard Business Review study, high purpose-clarity organizations (those with a clear purpose and a view of where the business is going and how to get there), exhibit superior market performance.

Now, let’s be clear. Just stating your bigger purpose isn’t the complete recipe for accomplishing more results for your business. There are reasons clarity of purpose leads to better outcomes.

How does it work?

First, taking time to think critically about your organization and its true value and purpose to the world is a useful exercise for leadership. It creates consensus and it defines how you are different, better, and more relevant to the market than the other choices—something every organization should know if it wants to outsell its competitors.

Second, having clarity about your role in the world and why it’s important that you exist, creates authentic and emotionally driven connections with your customers. Emotions are what drive buying behaviors. What’s more, today’s consumers continue to show a desire to want to buy from companies that align with what they value.  

Third, once you have clarity of purpose, it’s a great tool to use in uniting and inspiring your workforce. We all want to believe the work we do matters. Having alignment with the purpose of our employers affirms that the work we do is valued and part of something bigger than ourselves. That’s where the magic starts to happen. When employees feel an authentic connection to their work, they do more and better work. By tapping into that passion, you can transform your organization from good to great at every level.   

The results of a focused leadership, emotionally connected customers, and an empowered workforce are not surprising. And getting there just takes a commitment to defining and living your bigger purpose.

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