What is Brand Purpose?

Brand purpose is a term banded around a lot lately by designers, marketers and industry experts and it has led to some confusion making it seem more of a fad and something fluffy to add later on once more established.

You see I think brand and branding as a whole – ironically has an identity Crisis at the moment. Back when I was a graphic designer for hire people would ask me to create a brand for them, but what they really wanted was a nice shiny new logo, some nice fonts and colours they can use and start to create some leaflets and a website for them. They wanted an identity and that is fine but all this was just a veneer and lick of paint.

Unfortunately, in this day and age particularly, a lick of paint is not enough. Consumers want to dig beneath the surface. Authenticity and values are what drives buying behaviors now. That is where brand purpose comes in.

Brand purpose is not a new topic and here I will break down why brand purpose is here to stay and why it is the number 1 thing in our 10 step process that we strategise and execute into the brands we work with at BrandStorm.

The way brands have had to communicate has changed over the decades

Back in 80s and 90s brands communicated directly toward consumers and almost dictated to them what they thought they wanted. There was little choice or competition amongst bigger brands so the voice of the consumer was more or less ignored.

Then the rise of social media changed the game forever. Consumers had a voice and they could and did, voice their opinions on mass. Brands were forced to quickly change tact and sit up and listen.

Those that chose to ignore were quickly left behind and brands that were sitting up and taking note became the new exciting or disruptor brands. They actually spoke to customers in their own language, listened to what customers really wanted or issues they cared about and built their brands around these very things. Revolutionary right!!

Then In 2009 a little known author at the time called Simon Sinek got up on stage and delivered a TED talk and introduced the world to the Golden circle and told business leaders to start with WHY.

It suddenly changed the game for the business world as it summed up in 1 very simple word what real brand purpose was all about.

Simon Sinek's Ted talk explains the power of purpose when leaders and Inspired organisations regardless of size or industry all communicate to their audience and also think and act, from the inside out and start with why.

Right now there is another big shift in behaviours which has once again put brand purpose at the forefront.

Consumers, employees and even business leaders are completely evaluating their life choices in this post pandemic era.

Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about the brands they choose to buy from. We are all more ethically minded these days and are drawn to brands that actively contribute in some way to making the world a better place. The need for fast fashion as an example, has been replaced with the need for sustainable materials and processes and a boom in preloved fashion brands.

Employees also care more about values and their mental wellbeing than they do about promotions and pay-checks. They are re-evaluating what they want from the brands they work for, work with or buy from. They want to feel connected by similar shared values, beliefs and causes.

As a result, business leaders are having to once again sit up and listen and act fast to stay relevant and ahead of ever changing and new emerging markets.

The argument against brand purpose.

When we say brands should put purpose before profit there are still plenty of people that argue that generating revenue and profit should be the number 1 purpose of any business and that all this fluffy feel good save the world stuff is great if you’re a big brand like Nike or Tesla but it cant stack up against basic business fundamentals for smaller businesses.

However purpose is not intended to stack up against solid business models or strategy. It is intended to support these models for the future growth to protect market share when new competitors emerge. It should become part of your branding strategy and your brand strategy should be closely intertwined alongside your business model and strategy much like a strand of DNA. The 2 strands mirroring each other side by side and

links holding it all together is your bands Purpose.

Take Tesla as an example. They were very clear on their brands purpose from day 1 -