Make Purpose A Priority


Do we have ourselves to blame? Has our industry blasted so many messages at audiences that we’ve forced them to become more keenly selective in their interactions with us—our ads, messages and brands? Perhaps.

But if that is the case, then it suggests that building a brand connection with consumers is going to be more challenging, yet it also means that the connection is more valuable. Today more than ever, brands must truly build a relevant, emotional connection with consumers.

What’s the common denominator in emotional connection? In our industry, I believe it is Purpose. See? It’s so important that I capitalize the word. Purpose is the foundation under your entire enterprise and it answers the question, ‘why?’ – why are you doing what you are doing, and furthermore, why should the consumer care? Consumers expect brands to improve their lives in some way and they are turned off if they even catch a whiff that profit making is your Purpose.

Companies that believe in something greater than the bottom line offer something meaningful for consumers to connect with. Brand Purpose is a key pillar to successful Storyscaping. Here are some helpful perimeters to keep in mind before you craft (or evolve) your Purpose:

What Purpose is not:

  • Purpose is not the company’s vision.
  • Purpose is not the company’s vision. A vision is about defining where a business wants to be.
  • Purpose is not a goal. Goals are what you want to achieve.
  • Purpose is not a strategy. Strategy is flexible and dynamic and employs tactics.
  • Purpose is not about differentiation. How you do things differentiates; why you do them does not.
  • Purpose is not a marketing tagline or slogan.

Purpose is:

  • Purpose is an ideal, a cause or belief that an organization subscribes to, believes in and exemplifies. It points to the reason ‘why’ an organization exists.
  • Purpose is the foundation, the primary underpinning of belief.
  • Purpose is emotive – like ‘improving lives’ is emotive.
  • Purpose is simple – like Disney’s ‘to make people happy.’
  • Having a clear Purpose enables everyone (leaders, employees, vendors/partners, consumers) to think differently about your brand. It creates an emotional connection to the brand’s existence beyond the rational reasons.
  • Purpose is the basis for creating inspiration over manipulation.

To be useful, Purpose should inspire your people and be the basis of emotional connection with consumers. Therefore, it’s critical that your Purpose be universal and shared among the organization for all involved to own and portray this quality. Without truly living your Purpose in everything your brand and people do, consumers will feel the cracks and lack of authenticity—and adjust their behavior accordingly.

When a consumer believes in the same values that a brand portrays, you’re able to work with the magic of ‘shared values’ and the synergy behind that. How does a brand portray these values? By thinking, acting, and sharing based on their Purpose—a Purpose that is relevant to the consumer’s emotional desires.

Unlocking, discovering and defining the right Purpose gives a brand power and the ability to connect many stories and many experiences to an emotional platform. Once you have that, the goal is to continue working to create opportunities that build powerful, emotional connections with people through shared values.

The most successful and endearing companies convey one clear and simple story through every action they take—not just through marketing—and it’s all based on Purpose. These tips should inspire your Purpose and get it working for you.

By Darren (Daz) McColl (@daz_mc), Chief Brand & Marketing Strategy Officer, Global

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