The most powerful purpose-driven strategy? Helping.

Image for post
Image for post

Your brand purpose helps advance an organization by defining how it will make a difference in a life, a community, or even the world. At our firm, we talk about it like a gravitational force. We humans are drawn to the idea. It’s irresistible thinking that each of us can have an impact on the lives of those around us — all while helping advance the organization where we work. It’s doing better by doing good.

At the very core of brand purpose is the concept of serving. Of helping. That is a crucial insight. It guides us in addressing the question, “Now that I have my brand purpose, what do I do?”

The answer is simple. Start helping.

When did helping become an engagement strategy?

Great salespeople have always known this secret. A successful sales engagement is less about selling something and more about helping a prospect buy. Even if you coerce someone into buying, it won’t be a good situation. They’re more likely to back out. Or just feel unhappy about the whole deal and vow never to do business with you again. No, great sales are the product of great help.

Marketing folks have come to realize that the same applies to them. When we entered the age of the internet, a game-changing thing happened. People had unprecedented access to information. And an unprecedented ability to share information. This caused us all to begin to demand an unprecedented transparency from organizations. Companies that tried to ‘spin’ situations were quickly outed by a hyper-connected community.

Marketing that over-promised met the same fate. Some companies struggled with it, unable to give up the old paradigm. They got hammered on the social channels. Others realized that we were in a new era. An era of transparency. But more than that, they realized that the new paradigm looked a lot like what those great salespeople have always known. That offering great help is the key winning hearts and minds. And wallets.

How to help

It almost seems silly that I would have a header like ‘how to help’. But I can tell you from experience it is difficult for a lot of organizations to make the shift from pushing products to offering relevant and valuable help.

So let’s break this down to make it easy. There are two stages to understanding how to help. The first is knowing who we are helping. And the second is knowing what kind of help they need and when to deliver it.

It’s easy to say we’re helping everybody. It doesn’t take any effort. Unfortunately, with this lack of focus, it means you won’t be really helping anybody. By defining exactly who you’re helping, you can create and deliver the kind of help that makes a big difference for people. To do that, we need to slice up our segments and then build our personas.

  • Slicing up the segments helps us find our most likely suspects. These are people who have the ability to buy from us as well as the interest in what we have to offer. By defining and prioritizing the segments, we can start to see how it will influence everything from the messages we create to the channels we choose.
  • Once we have divided up our segments, we can move on to creating our personas. A persona encapsulates a segment by expressing it as a human with a name, characteristics, motivations, and feelings. This has a powerful l effect. It makes the segment feel real and tangible, and helps us empathize with the unique needs and desires of the persona. With a picture, a name, and a story, our personas come to life. Better yet, the ways with which we might engage with them become clearer and clearer.

Think about how much easier life would be if we knew what our prospects wanted. Unfortunately, our prospects don’t always tell us what they want. To add to the complexity, what they want changes depending on where they are in process of making a decision. Yikes. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a total guessing game. Through a systematic process, we can narrow in on identifying our prospects’ needs. The goal is to deliver relevant help and clarity at that point when our prospects are looking for it.

Customer journey mapping helps us chart the course our prospects take as they move from prospects to customers. Although the journey may not follow a straight path, it does include 5 stages.

  1. Problem/Need — the prospect is facing a challenge or senses there is an opportunity to explore.
  2. Discovery — the prospect attempts to define the problem or need, and then begins to look for options for addressing it.
  3. Evaluation — the prospect compares and contrasts the options available to address the problem/need.
  4. Decision — the prospect validates that the chosen solution is the most appropriate.
  5. Review — the customer evaluates the value of the decision.

At each step of the journey, we document the questions our prospects/customers have as well as the sources they consult to answer those questions.

Now that we know where to start, we can begin creating the great help our prospects need. We’ve defined the questions they are asking. So let’s start answering them. And since we have documented where they are looking for this help, we have a good idea of where to deliver what they need.

The most powerful strategy

Imagine your organization bringing your purpose to life by delivering great help. Imagine the delight your prospects and customers would experience — suddenly being delivered what they need. And when they need it. Imagine it. Doing good and doing better.

Let’s start. Helping.

Dan is an expert brand strategist and 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