With any existing organization, a brand purpose isn’t invented. It is clarified. It exists in the DNA. It just needs to be discovered. Coaxed out. And then refined.
If you’re looking to start that discovery that will lead to the clarification of your brand purpose, here’s a useful guide on where to begin.
1. Peer into your past
Every founder has a reason he or she took the leap to establish an organization. It may not be readily apparent. It may have been lost over the years. But there is some difference that the founder hoped to make. If the organization has been around a while, it may have gone through a major shift in purpose. At this inflection point, the leadership may have reestablished the “why” of the organization. Dig into the organization’s past. Look for that purpose.
2. Audit the present
Viable organizations don’t do things randomly. There is an underlying reason. If you look for that reason and examine its roots, it will point you to the purpose.
Look for the clues to your purpose. Examine your employee communications. Study your marketing and sales messages. Review your social media channels. Look for themes in how the organization communicates. Then document how those themes point to a larger purpose.
3. Look to the future
Review the organization’s future plans. Is there a 5-year plan? Are there some major milestones that the organization has laid out? Maybe there is even a stretch goal. Beyond simply increasing revenue, what do these plans and goals point to? Determine the larger purpose that they may suggest.
After examining the past, present, and future, bring it all together and see what commonalities exist among the 3 studies.
I use this exercise every time I begin a purpose clarification process with an organization. It’s always more revealing than everyone anticipates. It’s unusual to find an organization that doesn’t have some artifact of a purpose. Or some hope for making a difference that maybe has been neglected. Give the exploration a try. You may be surprised about what presents itself to you.
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 November 14, 2019.