The power of brand purpose

February 13, 2023
B2B Brand strategy Employer branding

In this era of increasing competition and products that are becoming more and more similar in features and quality, the possibilities of success by competing only on the merits of your product or service are rapidly disappearing. Values have become far more important than functional benefits. Today, a point of view is as important as a point of difference. So how does a brand compete in such an environment?


Successful brands are now competing via their brand stories and intentions. In other words, they have identified and articulated their brand purpose, and they are weaving that through everything they do.

The modern brand purpose is not like the lofty and often superficial mission statements that many companies have. It’s a description of how your brand could change the world – and it needs to be truly inspiring for your company’s employees.

A strong brand purpose is the one, ownable way of connecting your people to your brand’s positioning and strategy. The “why” is the key. In reference to the employee value proposition, businesses need to go beyond describing what they do and explain to employees, partners, customers and prospective customers why they do it.

According to Peter Drucker, an early leader in business management thinking, “Most people need to feel that they are here for a purpose, and unless an organization can connect to this need to leave something behind that makes this a better world, it won’t be successful over time”.

The benefits of having a clear, defined and inspiring brand purpose are many:

  • If you get it right, you’ll have a cause that’s so inspiring that all your employees will love coming to work. Not only that, but they will want to join together, achieve that purpose and seek to make the world a better place. They will live and breathe the brand each day, which translates to a fantastic and consistent brand experience.
  • It’s a powerful differentiator. It affects how you choose to act and react to the changing competitive environment, and can therefore set you apart from other companies striving to be good corporate citizens.
  • Uncertain economic conditions – a constant during these times – can impact consumers’ decision-making. Companies that can answer “why are we here” can build stronger connections with consumers and set themselves apart from the competition.
  • It’s a drawcard for social media discussions. It’s not very inspiring for consumers to discuss product features on social media, but an attractive and inspiring brand purpose, illustrated through emotive storytelling, can stimulate interesting and sharable conversations.
  • Millennials as a generation are driven by good, more so than any other generation, and actively seek out brands that align with their ideals.
  • It clarifies business decision-making. If a decision does not support your brand purpose or move your business closer to achieving it, then it shouldn’t be implemented.

In their “Culture of Purpose 2013 Report”, Deloitte illustrates that a strong sense of purpose is a proven factor in generating strong financial performance and long-term success.

Dove is a great example. Dove is helping women reconsider and redefine what beauty is. In Dove’s marketing, the world would be a better place if women were allowed to feel good about their bodies. They go on to say, “In a world of supermodel stereotypes, Dove recognises that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes”.

By doing this, Dove has elevated itself above its previous focus on benefits, to a purpose-driven brand, creating a much stronger bond with its consumers in the process. And this purpose has expanded to encompass the whole of Dove’s female product portfolio.

Consumers and employees increasingly want organisations and brands to be able to demonstrate a purpose beyond profit and prove a business commitment beyond simply commercialisation.

There is a great opportunity for savvy brands to create a powerful, inspirational purpose and tell stories around that purpose to bring it to life and unite employees behind it. And to tell the world that their employees come to work every day to achieve that purpose and really make a difference. This inspires and motivates employees to commit to the purpose – and customers to support the brand.

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