Diego sits across the table from me. (I made up a fake name, humour me.) Anyways. There I sit, with my team, Diego and his new Marketing Coordinator. He has an established manufacturing company with a fairly reliable customer base. He’s making a good living, his company has a good reputation.
And yet, here he sits, having an identity crisis. He doesn’t feel like his company looks professional. His company definitely appears outdated and in need of some love. He thinks, (with a push from his Marketing Coordinator) that he’s ready for a rebrand, and we all nod in eager agreement.
Why do you want a new brand?
We begin with one single, seemingly simple question. “Why do you want a new brand?”
He must be thinking about it. We lean in, eager to learn his deepest darkest branding desire. Finally, he speaks.
“I want a new logo, and a website.” More nodding. We love new logos and websites, but back to the question, “Why?” Silence. We start to panic slightly. He doesn’t know why. Surely he must know why? Finally, he looks at us, and there it is: “I just want it to look professional.”
Look professional? That’s his answer? I exhale. It wasn’t the earth shattering reason I was hoping for. Oh Diego. No wonder your company is stale, you have given your company no purpose or direction. Looking professional is not a purpose. It might be a goal. But it’s not a measurable, actionable, purposeful direction. Just getting a new brand for the sake of looking professional, is, to be quite blunt, just putting lipstick on a pig. (I can’t believe I just wrote that, I never say that.) But that’s how I feel when someone walks in without any goals.
Let’s get deep. Let’s find purpose.
Why is a purpose driven company important?
I’ve been in this game a long time, and I’m telling you right now, the companies I’ve worked with that walk the line of their established mission, goals and purpose go further. They make more money. They have more customers. They have invested employees and invested buyers. It’s a thing, here’s why.
People are attracted to brands with purpose.
Potential customers want to know what you stand for. They want a clear reason to differentiate you from your competitors, and not only that, but they are willing to pay a premium for it. A premium. Yes, if you can show them that you are a company with distinct vision, mission and values, one that they connect with, they will actually pay more to buy something from you.
If you need proof that 40% of consumers want to choose a brand with purpose, I would like to bring forward Exhibit A. Moi. Yes, me.
You’d think that me, of all people, would be somewhat immune from the power of these shiny new purposeful brands. I spend my days creating them. In fact, I’m probably the perfect example of a consumer in the aforementioned 58% club. I’m drawn to brands with purpose, and I’m totally willing to pay more for them.
Case in point: I needed a new suitcase. I could have gone to Costco and succumbed to the allure of instant gratification and a cheap hot dog. Instead, an ad on Instagram caught my eye. Granted, all my browsing and travel posts made me a hot ass red flag deal of a customer. But still, this brand looked genuine and kinda cool.
Having a quality product is important, but it’s not enough.
This company just got me. The company purpose, the way they presented the brand, the way they talked about travel on their social media. It was like they spoke to me. I loved this brand and I related to it. So much so, that all thoughts of elbowing children out of the way for free food samples went right out the window, in favour of a hefty credit card charge that I had to hide from my husband until he did something equally dumb (it wasn’t long).
My point being, their purpose touched a part in me that believed what they believed. That’s brand power. And the thing about brand power is that people will preach about the brands they love (aka, referrals).
In order for your brand purpose to carry any weight it must also have honesty, transparency and authenticity. Your values have to be the core of who you are, and you must live those values throughout every aspect of your company. You can’t say, sure, we support our community, and then outsource jobs to India. You gotta walk the talk.
A brand is defined by it’s purpose.
The conversation today needs to be about more than visual identity, it needs to be about how we can keep your company relevant by uncovering a purpose, and putting it to work for you. You need to uncover the hard questions about what your company stands for, what your values are, and what you are passionate about.
Having an authentic, purposeful brand, now that’s a freaking direction your customers and your employees can get behind. Both with their loyalty and with their chequebooks. Yah, I said chequebooks, it sounded cooler than Apple Pay.
The good news is you don’t have to be a new company to find your brand purpose and capitalize on it. You can start anytime if you are brave enough to step out of your comfort zone. The power of brand is available to you, at any time you want to invest in it.
If you are confused about where to start with this whole purpose thing, I strongly suggest you start with the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek. And if you have a short attention span, just watch his famous TedTalk video to get inspired. I’ve listed some more great resources below that will help you find your brand purpose.
At the end of the day the concept is simple. Build a company with clarity, purpose and values, and the branding and marketing that follows will be much more attractive and effective. Measurably so.