At its very highest level, brand purpose is the reason your company exists and what it stands for above all else. This goes beyond the business simply making money, it is what sets it apart from the competition in overcrowded marketplaces. It’s vital to connecting with your customers on a more emotional level.
Connecting With Your Customers: Brand Purpose
The biggest mistake that entrepreneurs and business owners make when considering their brand purpose is grouping it in with the long-term objective of the company. It is important to remember that goals and brand purpose are not the same thing. Most organisations, unless they’re a not for profit, wants to make money. So this is not going to set you apart from other brands. In fact, having the business’ purpose focused on profits is not going to help you connect with your customers or encourage loyalty from them. Ironically, two key elements for making money!
Brands also need to ensure that their purpose is inspiring, passionate and relatable. Long-winded messages that do not resonate with the audience are not going to encourage customer love. In a world where consumers are looking to buy from businesses that have the same outlook, morals and personality as them, you need your purpose to be on point.
This is backed up by data from our most recent Brand Love report. It states that 55 percent of consumers love a company that has brand values that align with their own. 42 percent want a brand to become part of their lives, while 38 percent think a company only reaches ‘loved’ status when it closely ties with their own identity. Connecting with your customers clearly matters is a sophisticated process. And brand purpose is key to it.
Here are some key advantages to having a brand purpose:
• It can add value, not just to the business and the lives of customers, but to wider society too
• It builds an emotional relationship between a brand and its audience
• It encourages loyalty, and repeat business is good for profitability. Connecting with your customers in this way makes it easier to develop products and services for them
• It makes you stand out from the crowd in an often busy marketplace
• It gives your team something to unite behind
• It makes it easier to make commercial decisions
So many businesses go with the more traditional brand promise approach, telling people in clear terms what their brand offers. However, those that are able to move passed this, to the next level, are the ones that find their purpose.
There is a snippet from the Brand Love report that perfectly sums up the important role brand purpose can play in an organisation’s successes. ‘In the case of IKEA, they have the brilliant “The Wonderful Everyday” which puts the focus on how they engage with customers, not simply describing what they sell. It is not just the big things in life, like cars and holidays that matter to us, we can all take pleasure from the small, everyday items as well, which captures the essence of how they engage with their customers. It fits perfectly with the in-store experience where they tempt you with so many very affordable small items, as well as the bigger ones, so that by the time you reach the checkout you are buying a trolley load. Retail genius.’
Other examples of companies with a strong brand purpose include:
• Nike – To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete
• Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time
• Google: To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful
• Coca-Cola: To refresh the world…To inspire moments of optimism and happiness
As you can see, each has its own purpose, neatly aligning with the brand’s personality, ethos and vision, but also representing its market and connecting with its audience.
So, how do you start developing and establishing your brand purpose? Here are some things to consider when working out your brand purpose in a bid to be better at connecting with your customers.
• Identify what you believe in and what matters to you
• Be clear about what you are and why you want to be doing what you do
• Think long term
• Put the customer first
• Be honest
• Be consistent
• Distinguish brand purpose from CSR
• Evolve your ideology over time
When establishing a brand, developing its purpose might not always be high on the to-do list. However, it should be. Anything that helps you and your business stand out in a busy marketplace, connecting with your customers and driving loyalty, must be pushed up the agenda.
Identify what makes you unique and what you fundamentally stand for, and you will be on your way to implementing a brand purpose.