This purpose-led revolution is forcing brands to ‘find their why’1 in order to rethink their function beyond products and services. The challenge brands face is how they deliver their purpose in meaningful and inspiring ways that audiences will find credible.
A purposeful past
Charities and NGOs have always operated with purpose at the forefront of what they do, it’s almost a prerequisite of being a charity. By communicating their ‘why’, charities are able to connect with donors who find supporting their cause compelling because they align to their own inherent values and beliefs.
Brands like Patagonia, The Body Shop and Dove have been operating similar purpose-led approaches for years. The longevity, success and enduring nature of this approach has paved the way for a new wave of brands like Tom’s Shoes, Howies and Lush to emerge and offer valuable lessons for other brands looking to adopt a more purpose-led approach.
Unfortunately, many brands still mistakenly assume that making money and their purpose are one and the same thing.
The purpose economy
In our experience establishing your purpose requires a little more soul searching, commitment and action than checking your balance sheet or signing up to a corporate social responsibility programme. A brand’s purpose should go beyond their vision, mission and values. It must capture the very essence of why they exist and then demonstrate to its audiences how together, they can achieve it each and every day.
As more and more millennials join the workforce, brands face further calls to find their purpose with 68% of millennials saying, ‘a successful business needs to have a genuine purpose’. While 81% believe the values of their employer should match their own. More than one-third (78%) define success as doing work that has a positive impact on society.2 This search for brands to deliver on the ‘double bottom line’3 therefore appears to be here to stay.
At Emberson, we believe the brands who seek to find and fulfil their true purpose, stand to connect with their audiences on a deeper level. In doing so, they’ll be able to create and attract masses of loyal and engaged stakeholders, helping to transform their businesses while positively impacting their communities and the planet in the process.
Find your purpose
Over the years we’ve helped a great many brands and individuals discover and deliver on their purpose. As a result, we’ve identified five simple tips to discovering your purpose:
1. Be inclusive
Look to involve and engage everyone important to your brand – customers, employees and any other stakeholders. Identify what’s important to them and look for shared values as well as areas the brand can contribute to making a real, meaningful difference.
2. Be open and transparent
Communication is key, give people the information they crave before they start making assumptions or worse, start believing rumours they hear. Be honest about where products are sourced, or ensure working conditions not only comply to regulations but go beyond. Better still, take a stance on important issues and stand for something people can really believe in.
3. Be consistent and take action on commitments
In a competitive market you only have one opportunity to prove yourself. Make sure you deliver on what you say and don’t change tract or renege on your promises, your audiences won’t tolerate it and winning them back is harder than you think.
4. Be true and authentic
51 percent of consumers in the UK are influenced to buy a brand, product or service based on the words, actions, values and beliefs of a company’s leaders.4 Leaders therefore have a responsibility to stand up and be accountable, especially if things go wrong.
5. Be creative
Focus less on reward programmes or loyalty schemes. Instead invest in new opportunities for your audiences to contribute. Turn successful theories into movements to help drive your competitive edge. Participate in crowdsourcing schemes to fund new innovations or look for local community schemes that align to your beliefs like Tesco’s local community schemes and Whole Foods’ community boards.
If you’d like to uncover your purpose, then why not get in touch, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. https://simonsinek.com Start with Why and Find your Why by Simon Sinek