The Power of Purpose
The Power of Purpose
What is Purpose? These days it can be confusing to understand how great companies and their brands come together. There’s brand purpose, values, positioning, DNA, a brand’s promise, its essence … the list goes on. But there’s one simple way to remedy this, and that is to find your companies truth and then get behind it.
Purpose is really a ‘re-minted’ version of a mission. It’s the reason a company exists. Or, to put it another way, it’s the motivation behind why a company does what it does. This does encapsulate a company’s values, however, experience tells me it’s always best that these are developed as part of the process, but kept separate. Well-written values that use everyday language provide a great set of principles for your team to work by, while your Purpose provides the guiding light.
Why have a Purpose? Because a Purpose delivers value to a brand. As a study that formed the centrepiece of the previous global marketing officer Jim Stengel’s P&G’s book Grow identified, brands with strong ideals grew three times faster during the study’s 10-year period than ‘less ideal’ competitors. An investment in them would have been 400 per cent more profitable than an investment in the S&P500.
Purpose is also a great talent magnet and, in fact, an important sustainable asset for any business beyond your talent.
So, how do you find your Purpose? The trick is to keep it grounded in your passion and the products and services you deliver. Ask yourself how they overlap with the values and interests of your audience. Fizzy drinks for example, should not try to create world peace, there is simply no intersection of value here. Purpose is about company leadership, not just marketing. It requires some deep thought about your ‘why’, not just your ‘what’ or ‘how’. Why I should believe you. Why I should work for you. Why I should choose you. Why I should endorse you. A good purpose captures the whole sense of being of an organisation and what it aspires to be and do. It is an ambition or a cause which the organisation and its customers can strive for together.
The challenge is to look inside at what your uniquely offer if you truly want to uncover your distinct, differentiated and authentic Purpose.
Nike have always been the shining example of a company and brand with a well ‘lived’ Purpose. Defined from day one, they exist to inspire the athlete in us all. More recently Adidas have stepped up to plate and are beginning to align the company around a more defined Purpose. The launch of the recent sustainable initiative in the UK where used or unwanted adidas clothes are collected, repaired and given to those who would benefit from them is clear demonstration. Their Purpose is strongly linked to the adidas product and shared values with its intention to reduce the brand’s environmental impact and to even the playing field so ‘everyone can play’.
Purpose matters to your team and to your customers. What’s yours?
Author: Simone Bartley, BRAND ARCHITECT