When talking to businesses about developing a new or refreshed brand, we spend a lot of time talking about purpose. To be honest it is often a bit of an uphill struggle. All too often businesses are more focussed on finding a USP to differentiate themselves. It often feels like nothing has moved on since the marketing manuals of 20 years ago, where the USP was king. But of course, things have moved on; in most sectors creating a genuine, meaningful USP is nigh on impossible and even if you do it will soon be copied. Differentiation through USP has given way to distinction through purpose.
So how do you create a distinctive brand in a world that is increasingly commodified? The simple answer is – you stand for something; you have a purpose. We have been banging on about this for a while and usually, the stumbling block is that brand and business are treated separately. Our view has always been that they should be inextricably interlinked especially in the service sector. For us this means making the brand as true a reflection of the culture of the business as possible. All businesses have cultures either intentionally or unintentionally and understanding that culture is the core to how we create brands that are true to businesses.
Nirvana for us is when there is an existing and clear culture within the business that aligns with the values and ideals of the target audience. Then our job is to use the brand to show that culture in its truest light to audiences, all the rest will follow. That is rare. Or rather it being that well defined is rare. What is missing is a sense of purpose, a direction that the whole business is striving towards. One that marries perfectly with the values, and product offer of the business. This is the rallying cry that comes from a business truth but which sets an ambition so that when asked everyone knows what they are striving for. And it needs to be something that will matter to your target customer as much as it will to your employees. Because if your customers believe in it they will choose you over the competitors – and even better they will feel good about having done so.
That is the purpose of a purpose.