What’s the point of purpose?

Marketers love a buzzword.

From hyper-personalization to gamification, every few months our industry seems to find a shiny new term to get collectively over-excited about.

Most don’t last. But every now and then, one proves to be more meaningful than meaningless – and in the process, becomes a valuable marketing tool.

Over the last decade, purpose has followed that exact trajectory – from bland buzzword to essential branding technique.

Why? Because its effectiveness is clear. In fact, a recent study found leaders who place purpose at the core of their strategy “…generate sustained profitable growth, stay relevant in a rapidly changing world, and deepen ties with their stakeholders.”*

But what’s so special about purpose? Shouldn’t we expect all businesses to be able to articulate their mission? It’s not unreasonable to expect that leaders have a clear vision of their goals and their impact.

Yet it’s surprising how many times the question “so, why do you do what you do?” elicits furrowed brows.

We believe purpose shouldn’t just describe what you do – it should inform everything you do. Because this isn’t about box-ticking or some feel-good schtick. This is about good business sense.

Which is why our brand strategy methodology starts with purpose.

Getting to the point

Uncovering your purpose isn’t easy. It requires an examination of every aspect of your business, from your value proposition to your role in the marketplace and your impact on customers and communities.

It’s time to realise that values can be as important as products – and relevance can be far more powerful than volume. Combined with behavioural psychology, these are the qualities that can build deep loyalty that persists through good and bad times.

The result is a focused business, attuned to the market, and closer to its audience. A brand that practices what it preaches, driving consideration and trust. And a place where people want to work, where energy and passion drive every decision.

Not bad for a buzzword.

*Thomas W. Malnight, Ivy Buche and Charles Dhanaraj, “Put purpose at the core of your strategy”, HBR, October 2019.