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.
- What are you best at?
This isn’t a list of services. It isn’t our core competencies. This is verbalizing what you believe is the one thing that you excel at that can make a difference for those you hope to serve.
- What are you passionate about?
What is at the core of what you do? What is it that has the potential to get the whole team excited? Let’s put words to that thing that stirs that indescribable feeling.
- What difference can you make?
This isn’t what you do or how you do it. It isn’t even the benefit of what you do. This is the benefit of the benefit. This is the profound impact you could have on a life, a community, or even the world.
For a deeper dive into this structure for developing a purpose, check out the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story.
2. Remove the language about you
If you want to lose people immediately, start a statement with “We believe”. For example, “We believe that we are on a mission…”
I know you want people to know what you stand for. But people don’t care. They have their own lives, and worries, and dreams they’d rather think about.
So how do you have a chance at getting them to care? Talk about them. Show us how why you do what you do has a profound impact on lives. Or on a community that we care about. Make it about those you hope to serve instead of your self.
Here is a pro tip: try writing your statement without using “we” or “us” — unless you are talking about a community or the world (e.g. “We all deserve to feel respected”).
3. Make it about one life
We have a tendency to want to jump to grand statements about sweeping change. Honestly, the most emotionally impactful thing you can say is how you will help make a difference in just one life. Concentrate on this first. How does your purpose make a difference for just one person? By articulating this, you help people understand how your purpose becomes real. It’s no longer vague platitudes wrapped in nice language. People start to understand that it can make a difference. And that by joining you in furthering that purpose, they can be part of the movement.
Your purpose statement can become one of your most valuable assets. It can act as a touchstone for decisions. It can guide what you say. And what you do. Most of all, it could be the difference between you having a brand and you having a brand that matters.
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 16, 2021.