Brand Purpose: What It Is and Why It's Important

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Saphia Lanier
Saphia Lanier

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Consumers support brands whose corporate purpose aligns with their own values. That’s the finding of a recent report by the World Economic Forum — and it makes sense. As consumers have become more aware in recent years of how businesses affect everything from society to the environment, many have begun to actively seek out businesses that have a strong track record of corporate social responsibility

Brand purpose: a phone and two computers.

With this in mind, companies with a “big” brand purpose will find it easier to build trust and earn the business of like-minded consumers. And businesses not driven by purpose may miss the chance to attract them.

Table of contents:

What is brand purpose?

A brand purpose is the reason behind a company’s operations. It’s what determines the products or services that a business offers, as well as how and why a business serves its target market. Further, it represents your brand’s identity

In most cases, the company’s purpose is a sentence or paragraph that acts as a guiding light for all of its strategic decision-making. 

Why having a brand purpose is important

A brand without a purpose is a ship without a compass. One year, it may rally behind a trendy cause, and the next year support a mission that contradicts its previous stance.

The issue: Customers will perceive that brand as disingenuous or unreliable. And many of today’s savvy consumers won’t buy from brands that lack a genuine purpose.

A Razorfish study shows 82% of consumers make purchases with purpose in mind. Another survey reveals that 44% of consumers are purpose-driven, meaning they exclusively support companies that align with their values.

This proves two key points:

  1. Brands must possess a clear purpose and communicate it to their target audience to foster trust and loyalty.
  2. Brands must take a stand, even if it means parting ways with some customers or partners along the journey.

The purpose driving your brand may not resonate with every customer, and that’s all right. The objective is to attract the right audience, not everyone. So, think carefully about the reason behind your brand and how it relates to your ideal customers.

Benefits of having a brand purpose

When you nail your brand’s purpose, it can bring a number of advantages that help you:

  • Differentiate your brand from competitors: A brand purpose gives your company a unique stance to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
  • Rally your teams around a cause: When everyone understands and embraces your brand’s purpose, it puts everyone on the same page and fosters unity and collaboration. Reports show that purpose-driven employers see 40% higher retention levels than those that aren’t. 
  • Build long-lasting customer loyalty: A clear brand purpose helps you connect with your target audience deeper, creating a strong emotional bond and fostering long-term customer loyalty.
  • Drive innovation and creativity: A well-defined brand purpose inspires your teams to think outside the box and conceive innovative solutions, leading to new products, services, and experiences.
  • Attract and retain top talent: A compelling brand purpose attracts like-minded individuals who are passionate about your mission, leading to a more engaged and motivated workforce. One survey shows 75% of leaders agree that a business strategy built around purpose leads to better talent attraction and retention.
  • Enhance your brand’s reputation: A brand purpose that aligns with the values and aspirations of its target audience builds a positive brand reputation and fosters trust and credibility.
  • Create meaningful impact: A brand purpose allows you to make a positive difference in society by addressing social or environmental issues, creating a sense of purpose and fulfillment for your brand and its stakeholders. Based on Razorfish’s research, buyers are 32% more likely to purchase from a brand with social advocacy than one offering a personal benefit. 
  • Increase customer advocacy: When customers resonate with your brand purpose, they become passionate advocates, spreading positive word of mouth and driving organic growth for your business.
  • Adapt to changing market dynamics: A brand purpose serves as a compass, helping your company navigate challenges and adapt to changing market trends and consumer expectations.

Brand purpose examples

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to brand purpose. However, you want to ensure that yours ties to your overall vision and brand strategy

Here’s a look at companies with powerful brand purposes that make a positive impact on the world and their revenue. 

  1. Seventh Generation: Seventh Generation’s brand purpose is to “inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations.” It acts out its purpose by creating products that are environmentally friendly and safe for people and the planet. Seventh Generation uses plant-based ingredients and avoids harmful chemicals in their formulas. Plus, it advocates for policies and practices that promote sustainability and reduce environmental impact.
  2. Toms: Toms’ brand purpose is to “improve lives through business.” It fulfills its brand purpose by following a “One for One” model: For every pair of shoes a customer purchases, Toms donates a pair to a child in need. They also fund medical treatments, clean water initiatives, and education programs in communities worldwide. Toms’ purpose-driven approach aims to improve lives and create positive social impact.
  3. Zoom: Zoom’s brand purpose is to “make video communications frictionless and secure, empowering people to accomplish more.” It lives out its brand purpose by providing a user-friendly and secure platform for videoconferencing and collaboration. Zoom focuses on making frictionless video communications so people can connect and collaborate from anywhere. 

These examples show you can have a big-picture purpose that’s socially responsible or that simply makes lives easier for a specific group of people (like business professionals). 

Brand purpose statements

Your purpose statement communicates your brand’s core values and how they’ll impact customers’ lives. 

Here’s a look at purpose statement examples for brands in different industries.

Retail

In the crowded retail space, you must have a distinct purpose from your competitors to stand out. One way to do this is to opt for sustainable practices.

Here’s an example of a one-line brand purpose statement for a retail company:

“To empower individuals to express their unique style and embrace their confidence through trendy and sustainable fashion choices.”

And how you could present this to shoppers:

“Picture this: You and your friends, together as a unified force, expressing your individual style and embracing your confidence through the latest, cutting-edge fashion choices. No more settling for mediocrity or conformity. With our trendy and sustainable clothing options, you can stand out from the crowd and make a statement that’s uniquely yours.”

Technology

Technology evolves rapidly, bringing forth new startups that seek to disrupt their relevant industries. Having a purpose is one way to keep your company relevant.

Here’s an example of a one-line brand purpose statement for a tech company:

“To simplify and enhance lives by providing innovative and user-friendly technology solutions that connect and empower individuals.”

And how you could present this to customers:

“Imagine a world where technology is not only advanced, but also intuitive and user-friendly. Our innovative solutions connect and empower individuals, making their lives simpler and more fulfilling. Say goodbye to frustration and hello to seamless integration. With our technology, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.”

Hospitality

Whether you own a hotel, hostel, or another business in the hospitality industry, having a purpose statement can help you attract the right guests. 

Here’s an example one-line brand purpose statement for a hospitality company:

“To create unforgettable experiences and moments of relaxation for guests, offering a sanctuary of comfort and tranquility.”

And how you could present this to the public:

“Close your eyes and envision a place where every moment is filled with relaxation and tranquility. Our hospitality industry creates unforgettable experiences, offering a sanctuary of comfort for weary souls. Indulge in the luxury of pampering yourself and revel in the peacefulness that surrounds you. Welcome to a world of pure bliss.”

Food and Beverage

Today’s consumers are more health-conscious and picky about where they purchase their food. Showing how your brand cares for their well-being can lead to more people consuming your goods. 

Here’s an example one-line brand purpose statement for a food and beverage company:

“To delight taste buds and nourish bodies with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, promoting a healthier and more sustainable food culture.”

And how you could present this to prospective buyers:

“Let your taste buds dance with delight as you savor the flavors of our food and beverage industry. We believe in using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients to nourish your body and promote a healthier lifestyle. Join us in creating a sustainable food culture that not only satisfies your cravings, but also supports the environment.”

Nonprofit

Your goal isn’t to generate big bucks for yourself, but you still need to earn revenue to sustain your operations and support your mission. If any business understands purpose, it’s a nonprofit. 

Here’s an example one-line brand purpose statement for nonprofits:

“To make a positive impact on communities by empowering individuals to become change-makers and creating opportunities for growth and development.”

And how you could present this to the public:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world. Our nonprofit industry empowers individuals to become change-makers and make a positive impact on their communities. Together, we can create opportunities for growth and development, helping those in need to thrive and succeed. Join us in making a difference and be the catalyst for change.”

Whatever direction you go in for your brand purpose, promote it throughout your organization to ensure alignment and consistency remain. A misaligned marketing campaign or PR statement could potentially unravel all your hard work overnight. Then once you’re aligned internally, share your purpose with the world. 

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