Purpose is talked about a lot. Most of the conversation surrounds the mojo purpose can bring to a brand. From attracting and energizing team members to inspiring prospects to join a movement to make a difference for the people and communities a brand serves.

As I was writing my book, I was excited about the emerging research and real-life examples that confirmed what I call the mutually catalytic power of purpose. In other words, how purpose can help a brand make a difference in the world while at the same time helping it grow and flourish. Purpose creates a virtuous…

If you want people to do something, give them a plan. If you want people to do something great, give them a story.

Stories capture our imagination. They inspire us. And stick with us. Stories connect with us in a way that the directives of mere plans simply cannot match.

Unlocking the stories in your organization

You want to rally the troops? Ask them for their stories.

Whenever I am helping an organization introduce a newly clarified purpose, the priority is to find stories inside the organization. …

People will say one thing and do another. They’ll make decisions that seem to defy a logical thought process. Everyone who works with a brand has seen this. People are unpredictable.

Well, not totally unpredictable.

As Dan Ariely has shown us in his excellent book Predictably Irrational, people’s irrational behavior can be predicted. It starts with accepting that we are all creatures whose decisions are driven by emotions.

Trust your gut. It knows more than your head.

Early in my career, I ran into product managers who insisted that any brand communications we created needed to be straightforward. “Just give them the facts” was the mantra.

Being young, I…

What do you offer that is of utmost value to those you hope to engage? Here’s a hint. It’s not what you do (your product, program, etc.). And it’s not how you do it (your service, delivery, etc.) Rather, it is why you do what you do.

The problem is that too many organizations begin to design or redesign their offerings before having clarity on why they do what they do — or what they stand for. As a result, a couple of things tend to happen.

  1. Organizations design offerings that feel generic or ‘me too’.
  2. They design offerings that…

Here is the harsh truth about your brand and the vast majority of brands that populate our world. Nobody wants to hear about you. They don’t want to hear about your products or services. They don’t want to hear about your features or how you function. They don’t want to hear about any of it. Because they have busy lives. And with those busy lives comes a constant stream of challenges they need to deal with. So asking them to take a moment and listen to you talk about you just isn’t going to go well.

So what do they…

A brand is defined by everything an organization says and does. It is how the organization shows up in the world. As such, the brand creates a perception. A perception of what people can expect from the organization.

This is inescapable for every brand. Even if a brand doesn’t set out on the path to do the things that lead to a desired perception. In other words, people will form a perception whether the brand likes it or not.

I have worked with organizations that complained that the brand got a bad rap for no good reason. Inevitably, there is…

Bringing purpose into your brand story is one of the most potent things you can do to strengthen your brand. I have helped a number of brands do this over the years. Throughout that time, I have seen select brands accelerate the process. It happens when they follow a simple piece of advice I give. It’s advice that you can use to do the same. Here it is:

Clarify your personal brand before you attempt to do the same with your organization.

Why examine ‘brand you’?

Sometimes, you have people on your team who will just hurry through the process of clarifying the organization’s…

When asked what makes our brands special, the natural tendency is to immediately think of something unique we believe we have. Maybe it is a prized feature. Or maybe the way we deliver what we do. Or maybe it’s a bold focus on a very specific niche.

These are all valid elements of who you are as a brand. But no matter how unicorn-like you think they make you, they are not what makes you special. And in fact, focusing too much on telling everyone about these elements keeps many brands from discovering that thing that makes them irresistible.

Going beyond special


Spending the time to get your purpose statement right can be one of the best investments you make for your brand. After all, this will create the dynamic core that will make all your messages and actions more powerful.

After years of helping organizations clarify and craft purpose statements, I have identified three factors that significantly increase the potency of purpose statements.

1. Ensure your purpose statement answers these three questions

There is not a lot of guidance out there on how to structure a purpose statement. Through my work, I have developed a proven method that utilizes three key questions.

  1. What are you best at? This isn’t a…

I was watching a video from a brand that highlighted its newly updated program. In the video, the on-camera person stopped to tell us the brand’s purpose. Then, she went back to telling us about the updates to the program. I caught myself thinking about the purpose she shared and not really listening to the message about the updates. I recall thinking that it was a nice message that sounded sincere. And I remember that I really wasn’t sure what it had to do with the updated program. …

Dan Salva

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.

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