By now, you’ve likely heard about the power of building a purpose-driven brand. The topic has been filling up business books, keynotes, and blog articles for 15+ years now. It’s a proven ideology, and it’s helping companies of all sizes create long-term loyalty with their customers and employees.
There is a problem though. There’s a massive gap between knowing about the power of building your brand on purpose and actually putting “WHY” to work effectively in your company.
In fact, in a study by Harvard Business Review®, they found that 81% of executives believe that purpose-led firms deliver higher-quality products and services, yet only 37% believe that their own model and operations were aligned with their company’s purpose.
We’ve found that some companies who believe they are leading with their purpose simply aren’t seeing are the same results that all the business studies and books talk about. So what gives?
If your brand messaging & visual elements are not emotionally compelling, then it will be nearly impossible for your WHY to deliver for your company.
How to put WHY to work in your brand
After implementing our OVRFLO process for many companies, we’ve identified 4 components that help ensure the success of building a Purpose-powered brand. The more these attributes are true of your brand, the more emotionally compelling and effective it will be:
1 – Transformational
We define purpose as the way a company or individual transforms the lives of others. It’s the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you and your team to show up and make the world a better place through your business. This is the starting point of creating a purpose-powered brand. We have to help the entire organization come to the realization that your product or service is not your WHY. Your products are WHAT you do to demonstrate and fulfill your purpose.
The way you work, the things you are unwilling to compromise on, your beliefs about the right or wrong way to deliver your product or service all come from your belief about how your product or service can best impact your customer. Your WHY should be driving your WHAT.
To become purpose-powered, you have to stop having transactional relationships with your team and customers, and go all in on the idea that you are in the transformation business. Your brand’s job then is to articulate and lead with that purpose.
2 – Authentic
Your company purpose must be what’s actually driving your organization. It has to be true and real to who you are. It’s not something you can make up just because you want to win with purpose.
Sometimes we have to help companies identify their purpose because they are so close to it that they cannot see it. But it’s always there. We never have to make it up. We just have to identify it and help everyone see how powerful it really is. The patterns of purpose are always present and our process helps uncover it for you.
The first two components in this list are foundational. The last two components are built on the first two, and are what make your purpose stand out in the marketplace. The last two are how you attract people who believe what you believe, and will want to align themselves with your brand.
3 – Unique
It’s possible that you have competitors that could say their purpose is similar to yours. They may share your passion to transform lives through their similar products and services, and it is likely authentic as well. Honestly, many companies are jumping on the purpose-led bandwagon, so if it’s going to help you stand out in the marketplace, we have to find out what makes your purpose unique to you.
The unique part of your purpose is typically found in your company story. The founder’s story is usually dripping with passion and purpose, even if most founders don’t always recognize it. It’s always empowering to hear how the founder/CEO saw an unmet need in the market, or took on a challenge that many others would not, and then relentlessly pursued it. They wanted to help people solve a problem, and they built the business by solving it with excellence. Once that story is clear, you can then decide how much and where to lead with it in your marketing.
Another important way to help your purpose be distinctive is in how you demonstrate it in the community. Doing good for those in need in a way that aligns tightly with your WHY reiterates to your team and your customers that your WHY is authentic. It shouts to the world that you believe in your WHY so much that you will find and support others that impact people in a similar way.
For example, we’ve shared in the past how Dove® believes that real beauty begins within, and that their products help their customers overcome self image issues by embracing their real beauty. They also demonstrate their unique purpose by supporting and celebrating nonprofit organizations that help young women learn about the power of a positive self image. Their work in the community is tightly aligned with their WHY and further authenticates it to be more than empty marketing speak.
4 – Creative
If your brand elements are boring or unsophisticated, then it makes your purpose seem that way too. Our creative team is passionate about creating powerful brand elements because we know how critical they are in establishing the credibility of your purpose and attracting others to help you fulfill it. This creativity, when applied to your purpose, makes it even more authentic, transformational and unique.
If applied correctly, your creative direction and messaging guide every piece of communication from your company. From sales presentations to social media to recruiting and everything in between, a well-created brand system will make or break your purpose integration.
It’s the glue that brings it all together. You can’t trust this part to lesser creatives trying to save a buck. It will derail the whole outcome.
These 4 components are critical in putting your WHY to work in your company. The more they are true of your purpose-led brand, the more emotionally compelling and impactful it will be. You don’t want to lose years wondering why your WHY is not moving your company forward. Reach out to us today to help you put a truly powerful purpose to work in your organization.