Discover Your Brand’s North Star: A Guide to Defining Your Brand Purpose

Imagine a business driven solely by making money. No deeper mission, no passion… would you be inspired to work there or buy from them? Unlikely, right? That’s because Brand Purpose is the foundation of strong brands, attracting not just customers but also loyal employees who are dedicated to your cause. In this blog, we’ll unpack what brand purpose is and guide you on the journey to discovering yours.

1. What is Brand Purpose (and What It’s Not)

Brand purpose is the core reason your business exists beyond simple profits. It’s about the positive impact you want to have on the world and the problems you solve for your customers. It’s not just a tagline for your marketing campaigns; it’s the essence that is woven into your actions and decisions.

And it’s not just about charity or corporate social responsibility; purposeful companies can be highly profitable. It’s about aligning your business goals with contributing value to society or the environment.

For example, Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company, has a clear brand purpose: “We’re in business to save our home planet.” This isn’t just a slogan; it’s reflected in their environmental activism and sustainable business practices.

2. Why Brand Purpose Matters

Having a clear brand purpose matters for several reasons:

Customer Connection: People buy from brands whose values align with their own. When you define your brand purpose, you connect with customers on a deeper level.

Employee Engagement: Employees are more engaged and motivated when they work for a brand that has a purpose they believe in.

Differentiation: In a sea of similar businesses, a clear brand purpose helps you stand out.

Resilience During Tough Times: When challenges arise, a well-defined purpose can anchor your decisions and guide you through.

Long-Term Success: Studies have shown that purpose-driven companies often outperform others financially in the long run.

Take Apple as an example. Their purpose goes beyond selling gadgets; they aim to “empower creative exploration and self-expression.” This purpose has helped them create a loyal customer base and a distinctive brand2.

3. Discovering Your Brand Purpose

Discovering your brand purpose is an introspective process that can transform the very core of your business. It’s about identifying what drives you, understanding your unique strengths, and recognizing the challenges your customers face that you’re uniquely positioned to solve.

a) What are you passionate about changing in the world?

Your passion is the fuel for your brand’s engine. It’s the driving force that keeps you going even when the road gets tough. For instance, TOMS Shoes was founded on the passion for improving children’s health and education by providing a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold1. This “One for One” model showcases how a brand can be built around a passion for change.

b) What unique skills or resources does your business possess?

Every business has something that sets it apart. Maybe it’s a proprietary technology, an innovative product design, or a unique approach to customer service. For example, Tesla’s unique skill is its cutting-edge electric vehicle technology, which is driving its purpose to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

c) What frustrates you that your ideal client struggles with?

Understanding your client’s pain points is crucial. It’s not just about what you can provide, but also about the problems you can solve. Google, for instance, was created out of frustration with the difficulty of finding relevant information on the burgeoning internet. Their purpose: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and helpful.

d) The Venn Diagram of Brand Purpose

The intersection of your passion, your unique skills, and your customer’s needs is where your brand purpose comes to life. It’s your sweet spot. When these elements align, they create a brand that resonates deeply with both employees and customers.

For example, Nike’s purpose is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. They recognize that if you have a body, you are an athlete. This purpose drives their product innovation, marketing, and community programs, ensuring that everything they do is aligned with their core belief.

4. Real-World Brand Purpose Examples

Let’s look at diverse examples of brand purpose in action:

  • small local bakery might be fighting food insecurity by donating unsold goods to shelters, reflecting a commitment to community welfare.
  • tech company could be improving accessibility in technology, ensuring that their products are usable by people with disabilities.
  • fashion brand might promote body positivity, challenging industry norms and celebrating diversity.

These brands don’t just talk about their purpose; they live it. They weave their purpose into every aspect of their operations, from product design to community involvement. For instance, the bakery might source ingredients locally to support other small businesses, the tech company could offer free or discounted products to non-profits, and the fashion brand might use models of all sizes in their campaigns.

By analyzing their actions, you can see how these brands don’t just use their purpose as a marketing tool but as a guiding principle for their business decisions. This authenticity not only resonates with customers but also creates a more fulfilling work environment for employees.

Your brand purpose is more than just a guiding star; it’s the very soul of your business, fueling every decision and attracting those who share your vision. It’s what sets you apart and drives you forward, even in the face of adversity.

5. Start brainstorming your WHY. 

Even an imperfect first draft is a powerful step towards clarity. What change do you want your business to be a part of? How will you make a difference? Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Take that step today and define the purpose that will become the heart of your brand.

As you embark on this journey, know that your brand’s purpose is the beacon that will attract the right people—customers, employees, and partners alike. It’s what will give meaning to your work and create a legacy that goes beyond profits.

So, what are you waiting for? 

Start defining your brand purpose now. 

Let it be the force that propels your brand to new heights and creates a lasting impact on the world.


by Team Brand Sewa

Last Updated on April 30, 2024

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