Brand Strategy

The Power of a Purpose-Driven Brand (And How to Build One)

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pur·pose – Noun: The reason why something exists. For companies, it is the foundation of every experience. It is the underlying essence that makes a brand relevant and necessary.

What is a purpose-driven brand?

A purpose-driven brand is a brand that is motivated by their core mission. The reason why they exist is to solve a problem or meet a need in society, and that purpose informs the brand's vision, mission, story, visual identity, decision-making, and more.

"The brands that will thrive in the coming years are the ones that have a purpose beyond profit." – Richard Branson

Why is a purpose-driven brand important?

Purpose helps to grow sales

Okay, let's get straight down to business – a purpose-driven brand is 100% beneficial for your bottom line, no doubt about it. Profit isn't the main driver of purpose, but it does keep your business alive, and that's pretty necessary if you're keen to continue making a difference!

63% of consumers prefer to purchase from purpose-driven brands, so if you're leading with purpose, you have the upper hand. Customers can relate to your story, are drawn in by your mission, and will advocate for the issues you support. Knowing the impact that their purchase is having means that investing in you feels much better than supporting a business that is driven purely by profit.

I know I've done it, and you probably have too! When I'm strolling through the aisles, or scrolling on Instagram, and encounter a product that supports an important cause, I feel compelled to purchase that over a cheaper alternative. I can see the difference it will make, and it feels good knowing that I've had even a small part to play in that impact.

I'm not the only one either – 80% of consumers say when they buy a product from a purpose-driven company, they feel they are doing some part in making a positive impact.

That competitive edge isn't reserved just for new purchases either: 66% of Americans would even switch from a product they typically buy, to a new product from a purpose-driven company.  So customers might seem loyal to another product, but with a purpose-driven brand, you can count on some betrayals in your favour!

Purpose improves brand loyalty

"By standing for something bigger than what they sell, tuning into customers' beliefs and taking decisive action, companies have the chance to recast their customer relationships and connect with consumers on a deeper level." – Accenture

Want customers on your side? You've got it with a purpose-driven brand. 79% of Americans say they would be more loyal to a purpose-driven company, 73% would be likely to defend a purpose-driven company if people spoke badly of it, and 70% would be proud to be associated with a purpose-driven company.

If you have a clear purpose that your audience can get behind, they will become your biggest advocates and shout about your brand from the rooftops!

Purpose increases impact

"Society increasingly is turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges. Indeed, the public expectations of your company have never been greater...Every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential." – Larry Fink

More important than sales or branding is the potential impact that your purpose can have. Spreading the message of your cause is the real power of a purpose-driven brand.

Now more than ever, businesses are expected to be purpose-driven. It's not enough to have a product or service – whatever you offer needs to work towards a higher purpose. 79% of people believe companies should work to address social justice issues, whether that be climate change, women's rights, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, or other important causes.

When you do have a clear purpose and do the work to back it up, your audience is instrumental in sharing both your brand and the issues that you champion. 78% of Americans would tell others to buy products from a purpose-driven company, and 65% would advocate for issues that the company supports.

Standing for, sharing, and helping to shift a societal issue will not only benefit your business but will have a monumental impact on those who are directly affected by that issue. By letting your purpose drive your brand, you have the potential to reach millions of people and drive incredible change.

Examples of purpose-driven brands

To illustrate the power of a purpose-driven brand, I wanted to share with you some that are incredible examples of this done well.

Thankyou

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Thankyou is a social enterprise that exists to empower humanity to choose a world without poverty. They commit 100% of their profit from their range of life-changing products to helping people in need.

Their purpose is at the core of everything that they do, and it's front and centre on their website and social media. It is also consistently weaved throughout their packaging, the customer experience and the stories that they tell. Customers can even track their impact and see what projects their purchases are assigned to fund, creating a sense of investment, agency, and empowerment among their audience.

For the Better Good

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For the Better Good creates a sustainable alternative to traditional plastic bottles and packaging, providing businesses with a simple choice. Their bottles are compostable, made from plants, safe to reuse and contain 100% pure New Zealand artesian water. Their purpose is clear and consistently present across their brand. From their name to their messaging, social media, products, website and more, the mission for climate change is shared, championed and celebrated.

BBM

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You don't need to sell a product to be a purpose-driven brand either. Service-based businesses are equally as powerful in creating change. Buttabean Motivation started in an attempt to help people live healthier lives and set an example for their family and friends. Their mission is to reduce the alarming obesity statistics among Maori and Pacific people through education, thereby enabling them to choose a healthy and active lifestyle for the duration of their lives, their children, their wider family and the community. They do this through online programs with meal plans and workouts, plus free community boot camps. The mission is clear and is the motivator behind every service that the program offers.

How to build a purpose-driven brand

"The purpose of your brand is to represent your purpose." – Michael Kouly
  1. Get clear on what your purpose is – before you can build a purpose-driven brand, you need to figure out what that purpose is. What drives your business and why? What problem do you solve or need do you meet?
  2. Weave it into your business – Purpose is nothing without passion, so be careful not to shoehorn your 'why' in for the sake of it. Make sure it's integral to everything you do from the beginning, that it drives your whole business, and shapes your products or services.
  3. Be creative in telling your story – think about how you're going to tell the story behind your purpose and engage your audience and have fun! The aim is to tell the story, engage your audience, and get them on board with you. Do you do something interactive like Thankyou with their impact tracker? Maybe you interview the people whose lives your business is impacting and tell those stories? Or you could have a live count on your website that shows the difference you are making. All these fun options (and so many more) help tell your story, explain your purpose, show how and why you're helping, and compel your audience to get involved.
  4. Share it consistently with your audience – however it is that you choose to engage your audience and share your purpose with them, ensure that it's consistent. Your purpose should be clear across all of your touchpoints so that your clients and customers know exactly what drives your brand.
  5. Take action – actions speak louder than words. It's not enough to just say that you care about an issue and will eventually do something about it. 89% of consumers believe purpose is demonstrated through how the company benefits society (and environment). But they want to see it. They expect brands to share their impact through all touchpoints. If you're going to create any real impact and have people believe in your mission, they need to see it to believe it. Decide what you're going to do to take action, and do it.
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So there you have it. Everything you need to know about a purpose-driven brand, from what it even is, to why it’s important, to some fab ones, and even how to build your own!

Building a purpose-driven brand is the way to grow a business that has real impact. It’s the way I recommend all businesses build their brands, but it’s not always easy to do it alone, which is why I created Make Your Mark.

Make Your Mark is my 12-week group coaching programme designed to help purpose-driven business owners just like you create a strategic brand that is as powerful as your vision and as infectious as your passion. It teaches you everything you need in order to feel empowered and inspired to share your story, courageously create change, and make your mark on the world.

Hollie stands resting her hands on the white desk behind her, wearing a black t-shirt tucked into orange pants and clear glasses, and smiling into the camera.

by hollie arnett

The brand coach for creatives, hand-lettering artist for herself, and cup of tea lover forever.

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