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startup brand purpose

On Startups: Creating a Brand Purpose Worth Remembering

“The most important brands in the world make you feel something. They do that because they have something they want to change. And as customers, we want to be part of that change. These companies have a reason to exist over and above just to make a profit: They have a purpose.” – David Hieatt

If you look at the most successful companies today, they’ve accomplished something that’s not easily done – they’ve forged a deep and lasting relationship with their customer base. They’ve achieved this meaningful relationship by identifying what’s important to their audience and uniting them in the pursuit of a common goal. Why is this significant?

While striving to be faster, better, and cheaper than your competitors can be an effective startup strategy, these advantages will only get you so far when it comes to building a strong and memorable brand. As people, we prefer to spend time with those who share our values, and a customer’s relationship with a brand is no different. Consumers want to know now more than ever that your business exists for reasons other than simply making a profit – what change do you want to make in the world, and how can they be a part of it?

The research supporting the fact that purpose-driven businesses outperform their purpose-lacking competitors is abundant. According to a study by Havas Media Group that examined over 700 brands worldwide, meaningful brands outperform the stock market by an incredible 120%. So what are you waiting for?

The first step in building a well-established brand is to discover and define your brand purpose.

What is a brand purpose?

A brand purpose is an impactful commitment a business makes to its customers that differentiates them from their competition. In simple terms, this statement explains the higher order reason your brand exists besides making money.

To illustrate the concept of a brand purpose more clearly, here are a few examples from major companies that are household names:

Google – “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Tesla – “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.”

Wal-Mart – “Saving people money so they can live better.”

Now that you have an idea of what brand purposes are and why they exist, we’ll show you some steps you can take to start building your own.

The Golden Circle

In the world of marketing, the series of circles you see to the left is known as “The Golden Circle”. Although it’s a very minimalistic graphic, working through the circles is a crucial step in beginning to define your brand purpose.

BulletLet’s start off with your what. Plain and simple, your what is the services or products you provide to your customers. Every organization knows what they do.

The how of your business are the things that set you apart from your competitors. What makes your business special or noteworthy in your customers’ eyes?

Discovering your why is single-handedly the most critical, yet most difficult, aspect of working through The Golden Circle. Many organizations are unaware of why they do the things they do – they simply exist to make money.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with starting and operating a company solely to make a profit. However, if you take a second to think about the brands that you’re emotionally connected to, chances are they have a greater purpose, cause, or belief that you identify with.

What_imageDiscovering the causes that are important to your target audience is imperative while crafting your brand purpose, because once you know what their values are, you can connect with their emotions by tackling these issues – together.

Some great examples are the outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia, which donates 1% of sales to preservation and restoration efforts. Another one is the shoe company Toms, which donates a pair of shoes to children in need for every new pair purchased. People trust these brands and are happy to continue supporting them because they play a role in making the changes they want to see in the world.

While your brand purpose doesn’t have to be as far-reaching as the previously mentioned examples, having a worthwhile, wholesome mission your customers can get emotionally attached to will greatly benefit your business.

To give you some inspiration, we’re now going to describe some common emotional motivators you can use to begin building more fruitful relationships with your customer base.

High-Impact Motivators

A few years ago, Harvard Business Review posted an article that examined the many emotional motivators that drive consumer behavior. Fortunately for your business, these conscious and unconscious desires can be leveraged to deepen your relationships with customers and solidify your brand in their minds.

Here are a few examples of high-impact motivators you can intertwine in your brand purpose to get customers emotionally invested in your brand:

Stand out from the crowd – project a unique social identity, be special
Have confidence in the future – perceive the future as better than the past
Feel a sense of freedom – act independently, without obligations or restrictions
Protect the environment – sustain the belief that the environment is sacred
Be the person I want to be – fulfill a desire for ongoing self-improvement

There’s no denying that building a reputable, trustworthy brand that consumers are proud to support and promote is a lot of work, but the effect a solid brand purpose can have on your business is boundless. Starting a new venture with a well-defined brand purpose that will resonate with your target market is key to success.

Stay tuned – in the coming weeks we’ll have some more content regarding the importance of branding and how you can build an effective brand from the ground up.

Need help communicating your brand purpose in order to attract new talent? Contact us to see how we can help.



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