No Purpose. No Brand.
Purpose fosters the brand.
If you’re a business leader, you’re on a mission to make your venture a success. While some are compelled by driving for rapid growth and profit at any cost; others are driven by a more intrinsic value system. The unfortunate reality is that too much of “Corporate America” has lost its way. Motivated by the overwhelmingly fierce desire to succeed, too many corporations forget or never even ask, why they’re doing what they’re doing.
There is a fine line distinction between a company and a brand. The company encompasses the business as a whole. It holds systems, policies, structures, beliefs, products, services and processes. It is the official legal entity that the IRS recognizes. The brand on the other hand, is the experiential persona of the company. It is the ethos for the beliefs of the company; the expression of the products and services and the cultural beliefs and actions of the company.
Simply said, the brand is the culmination of how people experience the company (inside and out). And the brand perception is how those people think and feel about those experiences.
While this may be controversial to point out, if your company doesn’t have a purpose that is clearly defined, articulated and consistently put into action throughout your culture, marketing and sales, it doesn’t have a brand. A purposeless brand is a soulless company waiting to be exposed. And a purposeless organization is one waiting to fail, because some mindful competitor will come along and displace you.
You are what you believe.
There an old maxim that goes if you don’t stand for something you’ll put up with anything. Equally true is, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll do anything.
A strong belief, for instance, about producing high quality products or services will have a carefully thought out and implemented string of actions (values, systems and processes) to achieve this. Patagonia is a good example of a company that lives up to their reason for being and purpose driven marketing.
Consider the following questions:
- Assuming you have a clearly defined brand purpose, how does it show up in the actions of your marketing and sales?
- How does your company’s reason for being show up in your product and brand promise?
- Do your customers experience your brand promise and rave about it?
- How does having a clear, actionable brand purpose help you say “no” to the things that distract you from that purpose?
- Do your customers know the heart of your brand purpose?
Brand Affinity Starts Here
Smart brands should be aiming for long-term affinity with their customers. Try this. When you deploy your next product launch or marketing plan, infuse clear customer value propositions into these programs. Walk away from the notion that you’re selling products. Instead, present your product or service as a solution to a problem or filling a need for customers. Be clear on what problem or challenge your product or services solves for your customers and speak in plain language directly to your customers.
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.