Welcome to the latest blog in our series on realising the potential of your brand. In this series we’re going to take you through the minefield of unravelling the challenges of optimising your brand for business success, from uncovering your purpose to developing the right positioning, finessing your identity and tone of voice to driving brand awareness in a crowded market.
This blog is about Brand Purpose.
Years ago, there were a number of brands across different industries that were leaders in their field. They sold their products and the company made money. There were competitors of course, but in essence this was the business model.
Over the last 10 years the world has changed, and the market has become ever more crowded no matter the industry. And it’s not just the market landscape that’s changed – consumers and customers have also become more ‘conscious’, driven to purchase products from brands they consider more ethical and with a ‘purpose’.
So, what exactly is a brand purpose? Simply put, it’s the reason that a brand exists over and above making money. It’s something ethical that positively impacts society and consumers or customers can relate to as they share a similar vision.
When considering a positive impact to society, you often default to environmental issues: recycled materials, carbon offsetting etc. However, a brand purpose is much more than this, it is a vision of how you would like society to be; it offers a lasting impact and relates directly to your products.
Let’s take Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. A product that is enjoyed by people around the globe, it’s a very recognisable brand with a very strong purpose: social inclusivity. They believe everyone should have a ‘fair slice of the pie’, meaning people all around the world are included in how society works, regardless of their background. The brand has run campaigns to support marriage equality (started in 2000), to encourage a younger generation to vote (started in 2004) and have created specific products to support these initiatives, which have featured in countries where Ben & Jerry’s feels like a difference needs to be made, including the US, UK and other parts of Europe.
Tresemme’s brand purpose is ‘Power your presence’, which has been built on the foundations of Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’. Research showed that only 1 in 3 women are confident enough and have the presence to show their goals. The brand wants to move the dial on that statistic, giving women confidence, and has run masterclasses in different countries with guest speakers to help instil confidence in women so they can be the best they can be. How does this relate to their products? As they are in the world of personal care, if you look good, you feel good and you are therefore more confident in yourself.
So, those two brands have different purposes that have a clear vision and a positive impact on society. And it’s good for business…
Consumers or customers that share your purpose are likely to build a deeper emotional connection with your brand and will become loyal advocates, which in turn will help to increase sales.
Let’s take Ben & Jerry’s as the example. They sell a similar product to many other brands, but which of their competitors have carved out such a strong purpose? None. This purpose gives Ben & Jerry’s a clear point of differentiation in an otherwise crowded market.
From an internal perspective, a clear brand purpose can create a strong culture by uniting a workforce that galvanises effort towards a vision that not only has clarity but offers something positive.
And let’s not underplay how important brand purpose is. Unilever announced last year they were considering selling any brands that don’t have a clear social or environmental purpose. And these aren’t small brands – Marmite and Magnum were amongst them!
Does your brand need a purpose? Or perhaps your purpose needs to be evolved to create a longer lasting impact? Maybe you feel you have a strong purpose but haven’t articulated it internally or externally. If you want help bringing your brand purpose to life, get in touch and our brand team will be happy to discuss your challenges and how we can help.