There is a huge difference between having a “brand purpose” which aligns your business or organisation, to a social purpose and your workplace having true purpose. Building a true purpose can increase profit, staff, customer, and supporter recruitment, engagement, and retention. If you are going to commit to purpose, above all else make you need to sure it’s genuine; that it’s a real expression of your organisation’s reason to exist, not just window-dressing or bandwagon-jumping.
Our most recent Unmuddled episode: The Great Purpose Debate, we dived deep into whether every organisation needs a brand purpose, and how best to build and communicate an authentic ‘why’. In this article, Strategy Director Charley Day offers her top tips to help you look at why you exist: that can help you stand for something and focus on creating more than attention grabbing marketing one-offs.
- Make people feel: If you have the courage then take a stand and transfer your feeling into what you do. It’s human nature to feel, it’s our greatest, most compelling asset. If you get this right, people will want to be part of the change you are creating in the world. You can ensure that you matter to your people, supporters, and customers more if you focus not just on what you do, but on how you want the people you touch to come away from their interactions with your feeling.
- Bake your ‘why’ into your DNA: Even as your business changes over time, your purpose should have the capacity to outlast you. For a purpose to mean anything, it should be your constant north star, helping you to align your business, marketing, and communication objectives.
- Be genuine: Honesty goes a long way, so say when you have got it right and wrong. People need to see and hear your reason to exist. It can’t be tacked on. Be authentic and you will give your audience a reason to stay loyal to you for the long term.
- Be relevant: Be mindful of how the world is changing. Make sure you have a related connection, otherwise people will see straight through you – a beer is probably not going to clean the oceans.
- Differentiate yourself from the rest: Use purpose to create your culture – it’s why the best people will work for you. It’s also the reason they won’t work for your competitor. Put the people you work with at the heart of your organisation, give them a belief to turn up for, so they turn up for you, rather than someone else.
Arguably, your brand purpose is meaningless in and of itself. If your organisation has a genuine purpose, it’s not merely a matter of branding. It should be your reason to exist above all others. So, ask yourself, why do you deserve to exist? What separates you from the rest? Why do you matter, and what is your impact on the world? We believe most companies and not-for-profits do have one – but for it to help you drive success, you need to identify it with a healthy dose of honesty and articulate it in a way which feels completely genuine to your audience.
By Charley Day, Strategy Director