Learning how to lead with brand purpose

3 Minutes Read

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

As a business leader, you’ve likely spent countless hours ensuring that your company offers a high quality product or service. You may have spent even more hours concocting a marketing plan and you may have even attracted new clients!

But how can you bring your business to the next level? How can you develop such deep connections with your clients that you’re able to influence them to take action? How can you stand out from your competitors?

Brand purpose lies at the heart of most thriving businesses because it addresses all of these dilemmas. Many business leaders underplay the importance of brand purpose, but if you want to inspire consumers to connect with your business as it grows and develops, you must identify, embody and articulate a clear brand purpose. 

So, what exactly is brand purpose?

The idea of brand purpose originated from Simon Sinek’s famous TedTalk called “Start with Why.” Sinek concluded that many “inspired” leaders and organizations, such as Martin Luther King Jr., the Wright Brothers and Apple, carried out a fundamental yet simple method that set them apart from others in the same field. He introduces this method through the “golden circle.” 

Sinek observed that most leaders and organizations operate from the outside in -- that is, focusing on what good or service they produce then how they do it, rarely ever thinking about why. However those leaders who choose to begin their decision-making process from the inside circle, or the purpose of their brand, are much more successful. “People don’t buy what you do,” he said, “they buy why you do it.” By doing this, brands differentiate themselves in ways their competitors can't touch. 

Building a foundation with brand purpose has set extraordinary leaders and companies apart from their competitors, but what exactly is it and how can a company identify theirs? In simple terms, brand purpose is why a business exists outside of making money. In order to identify your business’s purpose, you must first consider why it exists.

While it is best to establish a brand purpose from the beginning, you can still evaluate what your brand has evolved to stand for overtime to identify its purpose. This should then drive every other aspect of the company -- what products or services are produced, which consumers to target, strategy decisions, etc. Allowing purpose to guide every other aspect of the company allows you to connect with consumers on an emotional level which can also lead to higher levels of loyalty.

Examples of brand purpose

Brands like Dave’s Killer Bread have figured out how to leverage their purpose to set themselves apart from their competitors. Instead of introducing just another brand of sandwich bread to grocery stores across the country, Dave’s Killer Bread clearly communicated their passion behind Second Chance Employment and consumers responded. By buying their bread, consumers felt like they were contributing to the company’s purpose which ultimately led to them becoming one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing 5000 companies.

Brand purpose is absolutely crucial in today's market. Not only does it help set your company apart from others, but it can also act as a guide for growth and development. If you're considering a potential new product or service for your company, line it up against your set brand purpose to see if it makes sense. If the new endeavor doesn't help accomplish your brand's purpose, then it isn't worth pursuing. 

Brand purpose can also have a profound impact on your company's bottom line. Consumers no longer only care about the products or services a company offers. They want to contribute to something more, something that makes a positive impact in the world. After buying into your brand purpose consumers are much more likely to be engaged and loyal. They will want to help you achieve your purpose by investing in your brand even if a competitor offers a similar product or service for less.

Why brand purpose matters

Going back to the Dave's Killer Bread example from above, there are much cheaper bread options on the shelves -- some priced at even less than a dollar -- but Dave's Killer Bread has still found success because of how well their brand purpose resonated with consumers. When shoppers purchase a loaf of Dave's Killer Bread, they know that they are supporting a second chance for people who may not otherwise get it. Therefore, the extra price they pay at the register is worth more than just a simple loaf of sandwich bread. Your company can inspire the same kind of loyalty by clearly communicating its purpose. 

It all boils down to this: consumers want to know what kind of company they are supporting with their business. Are they supporting a company obsessed with profit or are they supporting a company with a clear vision and path? They're much more likely to trust the latter. So consider what your brand's purpose is and learn how to clearly communicate that internally and externally. Not only will it positively affect your bottom line, but it will also help guide your business as it grows. 

Interested in learning more about brand purpose?

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Tracey Owen

Tracey enjoys coffee and hiking while also (not really enjoying) trying desperately to keep her remaining house plants alive.