Brand purpose is essential to your business survival. But when you start your own business, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘how’ of it all: how to turn your business plan into a reality or how to balance your finances. Plus, there’s clients to think of, as well as the daily humdrum of running a business.
By focusing on HOW to achieve, you can lose sight of WHAT you wanted to achieve, and WHY. Once your business is properly established, and you dedicate all your time and energy to keeping things afloat, it’s even easier to forget about the ‘why’ — the reason you started your business in the first place.
You may be thinking: the reason it all began is simply a motive, a catalyst that stays in the past, so it doesn’t actually matter in the long run, right? But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The ‘why’ is intrinsic to any successful business. It’s the driving force behind the scenes, the very reason you get up in the morning and invest so much effort into what you do; it’s your brand purpose. And it’s key to your business’ survival.
What is brand purpose?
Brand purpose is the reason why your business exists, beyond making money. After all, financial success is pretty much a given purpose for the majority of businesses. Brand purpose, therefore, looks at the wider picture. It’s the motivation to offer something to the world, to make a difference. As such, your brand purpose is often something selfless, something that resonates with people and makes them feel something on an emotional level. It’s your business’ identity; it’s unique to you and is what sets you apart from other businesses in the eyes of your audience.
Take Georganics, a sustainable oral care company, for example. Of course, like many businesses, they manufacture products to sell, but this isn’t what their brand is built on. Their brand purpose is to help people access quality dental products that are good for them and the planet. They use business as a ‘force for good’, to help make the world a greener, more eco-friendly place; their products are simply a means to an end when it comes to helping them achieve that purpose.
And it is this purpose that drives the sales of their products and their success as a business in turn. Georganic’s customers don’t buy from them just because they sell quality products: they buy from them because they know that, by switching their plastic toothbrushes with a Georganic’s bamboo one, they’re doing their bit to live more sustainably and protect the environment. Without such a compelling brand purpose, there would be nothing to distinguish the brand from others and, therefore, no reason for consumers to choose Georganics over any other dental hygiene brand, which brings us nicely to our next point…
Why is brand purpose important?
Running a business without a clear brand purpose is like driving a car on a near-empty tank of gas — it can only take you so far before you’ll grind to a halt. Not having your brand purpose nailed down can make or break the future of your business. That’s because if you don’t care about what makes your business tick, or why it’s important, then your customers or clients won’t either. They will have no reason to buy from you or interact with your brand. Those that do will likely do so on a fluke, which is no way to go if you’re looking to build a strong brand or a loyal customer base.
But it’s not just your potential customers that will give up, you will too. Studies have found that over half of new businesses fail in their first 6 months through lack of brand identity and drive, amongst other reasons. Like with anything in life, if there’s nothing to motivate you to do something, you simply won’t bother doing it or, if you do, you’ll invest less into it, leading to far from desirable results. Therefore, if you care about making your business a success, you must care about brand purpose.
Finding your brand purpose
Pinning down your brand’s purpose may seem daunting, but have no fear. All you need to do, to quote Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, is begin at the beginning. Think back to the time before your business was even an idea. What was happening at the time? What sparked your business concept? Did you start your business to make a difference in the world?
To help you out, try answering these 3 questions:
- What do you want your brand to achieve, other than financial gains?
This could be anything from becoming a household name to creating a local hub for your community or supporting those less fortunate. What you want your brand to achieve is what you want your brand legacy to be.
- What do you want your contribution to society to be?
Perhaps you want to help people lead healthier lives or support young entrepreneurs so that they can find their feet? This question gets right to the heart of what brand purpose is all about: the selfless ‘why’ that drives everything you do. Consider yourself not as an individual, but as part of humanity as a whole.
- How do you want your brand to grow, excluding financial success?
Do you want to expand your horizons and turn your business into a global enterprise? Or maybe you want to become an established organisation in your local area? Whatever you’ve got your sights on, having a clear idea of how you want your brand to grow allows you to turn your vision into reality.
Once you’ve found your answers, write them down and use them as a reminder of your true WHY. You can then focus your energy into building a stronger business, with a clear and compelling brand purpose and identity.