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What Is Brand Purpose?

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

In this article, I will give an overview of what brand purpose is as well as give you examples of what brand purpose looks like in action.

Purpose, Vision, Mission, And Values

Let's look at your brand purpose, vision, mission, and brand values, collectively. Starting with brand purpose, which is the core from where everything flows.

Brand Purpose is "why" you exist. It's the reason for being beyond making a profit. A great brand purpose will always put the consumers first and manifest itself in everything it does. Knowing the deeper "why" your company or brand exists provides the foundation on which to build everything else.

Simon Sinek, author of the book Start with Why, introduced the idea of defining brand purpose to a global audience in his 2009 TED talk.

"People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe."—Simon Sinek, How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

Vision is "what" a company aims to achieve for its future.

Mission is "how" we are currently taking action against our vision.

Brand Values are "what" our basic beliefs are in what really matters which guide how things should be done.

This diagram (from BrandNewPurpose) brings this to life.

"People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe."
Start With Why

Brand Purpose In Action

Once your brand purpose is defined, it should emanate throughout your organization. Your brand purpose should show up in your company culture, code of conduct, strategic plans, recruitment, among other key business decisions.

Here are three companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to their brand purpose.

  • Crayola: To help parents and educators raise creatively alive kids. We want to help kids ask those "What if?" questions that keep them curious. This brand purpose turns parents, teachers, and employees into partners who inspire children's creativity throughout the learning process. Crayola does this by first believing that they can help unleash the originality in every child. Second, by offering tools that inspire kids to express what they're thinking. Finally, to create products that will help kids free their "What if?" questions, Crayolians need to be kid-inspired.

  • Dove: To make a positive experience of beauty accessible to every woman. Dove's brand purpose encourages women to be kinder to themselves, and embrace their natural bodies, diversity, and inclusiveness. They make it easier for customers to relate to, which inspires greater customer loyalty. Dove launched their Real Beauty Campaign in 2004 which focused on empowering women. In 1990, Dove was worth $200M and today it is worth over $5B. Source

Axe: Ultimately our brand purpose is to inspire guys to express their individuality, becoming their most attractive selves. Axe's brand purpose focuses on helping guys smell and feel their best as they never know when, where, and with whom they'll spark attraction opening up a world of possibilities. We see this come to life through Axe's partnership with Netflix series Sex Education to encourage self-confidence with its teen audience through sharing real-life dating stories, introduced by characters from the show.

Brand purpose is critical in today's market as it shows your customers, employees, and competitors that you're bigger than just turning a profit.

"A rising generation of consumers is looking for brands to stand for something bigger than the products they sell," says Bemporad. "They want brands to embody an inspiring ethos, bring a strong point of view, and take action to make a positive impact in the world." Source

Start building your brand leadership today. For a step-by-step guide on how to develop a brand strategy, check out my book, How to Develop A Brand Strategy. You’ve got this.


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