Companies can’t ignore the fact that prospects are giving preference to brands that embrace a purpose. When developed authentically, a purpose can help an organization do well while doing good.
But before we go rushing off to champion the latest cause du jour, let’s take a beat to make sure it really makes sense for our brand.
Aligning who we are with why we’re here
I was working with a financial services organization that spent a good amount of money supporting a cause that fed the hungry. It was all because there was somebody on the leadership team that had a personal connection with the charity. It was a worthwhile endeavor. But when the company tried to engage the public to help with the effort, it never quite took off.
Like I said, it was a good effort to support. But it failed to become a movement because there wasn’t a natural connection between a financial services company and the issue of hunger.
Does this mean the financial services firm shouldn’t support the cause that fights hunger? No. But it shouldn’t expect it to naturally gain momentum with the public. So what could it have done? Well, money can be a great source of stress and anxiety for everyone. It can affect everything from a person’s health to her or his relationships. The financial services company had a lot of knowledge and tools to help people be better with their money. What if it organized it all and then developed a program that generously shared all that with people? It would be addressing a problem (money) that is at the root of a whole host of other problems.
Better yet, it would make sense to people because it would be coming from an expert in the field. That gives it the potential to become a movement.
Your brand doesn’t have to save the world
Your brand does not have to adopt a purpose that will change the world. Your purpose can be anything that makes a difference. Even if it means impacting one life at a time. Starbucks talks about its purpose in terms of “…one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Spend some time identifying the difference you can make. Find what is genuine. Whether that is in a life, a community, or even the world. It’s not something you invent. It’s in your DNA. It simply requires the effort to clarify it.
Do it honestly and earnestly and you will have a purpose that is believable, valuable — and most of all — undeniably yours.
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 — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.
Originally published at https://www.dansalva.com on January 9, 2020.