Image for post
Image for post

Purpose unlocks the benefit of the benefit

Clarifying a profound purpose has a powerful effect on our ability to win the hearts and minds of prospects. Because when we incorporate this purpose into our communications, we unlock the ability to go beyond features. To even go beyond benefits. We develop that rare ability to champion the benefit of the benefit.

Let me illustrate.

Let’s say we are manufacturers of light bulbs and we want to find the most compelling way to convert prospects into customers. We could tell people about what we do. We could talk about the watts. We could talk about color temperature or our quality manufacturing process. This is where the majority of organizations play, quibbling over whose features or processes are superior. Does this have an effect on our customers? Absolutely. It makes them yawn.

The next step up would be to talk about what those features deliver. Which, when you think about it, is what potential customers are really after. Here’s what I mean. Our customers don’t want to buy a lightbulb. Seriously. What they really want is what that light from the bulb helps them do. That light helps Mr. Prospect find the TV remote (rather than fumbling around in the dark.) It also gives a warm glow to his home, making it seem inviting and friendly. Rather than light bulb mechanics, we would talk about the benefit — what that light does for the quality of life. Emphasizing the benefit begins to give our prospects a reason to care.

But what if we took it further? What if we took it to a place where things get magical? That’s what happens when we bring purpose into the equation. Imagine that before conducting our product positioning, our organization goes through the purpose discovery process. Out of that process, we uncover the deeper purpose of our light bulb company — that profound difference we can make. We would express it like this:

We illuminate lives, helping people discover the everyday wonders around them. It may be in the words of that novel that you’ve curled up with. Or maybe it’s in the pinkness of your baby daughter’s cheeks and the way her face lights up as you cradle her in your lap. These are the moments that make our lives. And we are here to make sure you don’t miss a moment.

In this example, it’s no longer just about our watts and manufacturing processes. It’s no longer just about the light our bulbs create. It’s about something bigger. The purpose is about being an advocate. It’s about shining a light on those moments that make life rich and full of wonder.

That is the benefit of the benefit.

Imagine what happens when that enters the process of positioning our product. Imagine the reaction we create when we speak to the profound difference we can have by helping people focus on illuminating those moments in their lives. Could it help spread a little joy in our world? Could it help us become a catalyst for celebrating those things that help us shine as humans?

Imagine the messages that would flow from this purpose-driven position. But don’t stop at the messaging. Imagine sponsoring a program that encourages kids to read every night (when our lightbulbs do their thing). Imagine what that would do for our team members. It would help transform them from makers of lightbulbs to the ones who illuminate those special moments in people’s lives. Imagine what kind of recruits we could attract.

We can only go so far if we just stick to the features. We can go further by finding the benefits. But if we really want things to open up, we need to get to our profound purpose. And then let it lead us to the benefit of the benefit.

Dan is the creator of the Big Audacious Meaning. 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. He regularly shares his insight here on Linkedin and at

Written by

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.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store