Your brand doesn’t need a higher purpose. It needs a clear one

Brand Purpose has certainly become a bit of a buzzword in branding recently.

When you hear the term you might associate it with the push for organisations to pursue a ‘higher purpose’, away from making profits, towards the planet, community or something bigger than themselves.

In my humble opinion, the ‘goodness movement’ has hijacked the idea of Purpose in branding to the point that it’s become confused with just being about corporate social responsibility. Ironically it has lost some of its ‘authenticity’ (another buzzword that often follows closely after purpose).

What gets you out of bed every morning?

Running a socially responsible brand might be something that’s important to you, but is that what really gets you out of bed every morning? Is that really what’s driving your passion for your business? I’d hazard a guess and say for many business owners and brand leaders, that’s probably not the case. And that’s ok with me.

I’ve worked with business owners who believe their industry needs to be better at creating a hassle-free experience for their customers. That’s a really powerful purpose that drives decision making in all aspects of their business and branding. I’ve worked with a business who is passionately championing the beautiful craftsmanship in Japanese fashion and another who believes in making their customer’s lives easier through developing smarter software for their particular industry.

Your purpose doesn’t have to be higher than the next brand to compete, it just needs to be real and meaningful to whatever it is you’re doing.

Where is purpose born?

Every business begins with some sort of ‘spark’. A combination or circumstances, passion and gut feeling  – A PURPOSE! –  that ultimately motivates someone to take a huge risk and go for it and start a company, create a new product, put themselves or new idea out there.

That spark is always very powerful because, let’s face it, working for someone else and collecting a paycheque every week is always going to be much easier than starting a new business.

The challenging part can be defining and articulating what that purpose is in a way that is meaningful, especially if it’s something you’ve not really thought about before. If you’re serious about getting it right, that’s when it can help to get some external facilitation.

Purpose and growth

As a startup or a very small business, when it’s just one person or a couple of partners, you can always rely on your own gut/purpose to make important decisions with, and that’s where early business success usually comes from.

As a business grows to more than its founders (and into a brand) it’s physically impossible that everyone in the business can be making decisions based on that same gut/purpose that made things a success in the first place, which is one reason most businesses find growing very challenging.

When you clearly define and articulate that purpose as part of your brand strategy then you can pass that spark on to your employees to help them, or better yet only hire people who are a fit for that purpose in the first place.

We love helping organisations harness the power in their purpose, especially through culture programs. I’m always up for a coffee to chat, so feel free to drop me an email from my profile page if any of this has got you thinking.