Let’s face it.
The world has changed. Consumers have changed. You and I have changed.
There was a time when I only trusted big brands for quality and support. And sometimes even for snob value 😉
Now, consumers are more conscious than ever of the brands they support. They are more conscious of the brands they trust and care more about just the products they buy. They want to know more about what the brand stands for.
That’s where purpose-driven brands come in.
They’re more than just a company with relevant products or services – they have a mission, beliefs, and values, and they connect deeply with their customers.
In this post, I will cover the meaning of a purpose-driven brand, provide data on how it drives sales, and give you tips to create your purpose-driven brand to grow your small business.
What is brand purpose?
A brand purpose is a reason why a brand exists, beyond simply making money. It’s about making a positive impact on the world and making a difference in people’s lives.
A brand purpose can be something as simple as making people’s lives easier or more fun.
What are purpose-driven brands?
Purpose-driven brands start with WHY they exist and do business. Most businesses start with WHAT they do or HOW they do it, but purpose-driven brands start with WHY they do it.
They’re built on the idea that businesses exist not just for making money, but also to genuinely help people, to be a force for good in the world. And they’re not just for big businesses. Purpose-driven brands can and should be created by small businesses and solopreneurs, too.
For a brand to be truly purpose-driven, its purpose must be at the core of everything it does. From its brand imagery, marketing and advertising to its product development and customer service, all touchpoints must reflect the brand’s higher goal.
Thus it follows that these brands are authentic, transparent, and ethical.
This is not corporate social responsibility, it’s not cause marketing, and it’s not a strategy for philanthropy; it’s a business strategy. Your philanthropy can come out of it, just like your R&D and HR come out of it. But once you choose your purpose – everything else should come out of that.
– Jim Stengel, former CMO, Procter & Gamble
How does brand purpose drive sales?
There have been repeated studies done on this over a period of time. These studies and the business successes of specific brands have clearly shown how purpose-driven brands can drive significant sales.
Here are some data:
2014: Purpose-driven companies witnessed 46% higher market share gains and grew on average 3X times faster than their competitors.
2018: Unilever’s Sustainable Living Brands delivered 75% of the company’s income and grew 69% faster than the rest of the business.
These brands include:
- Dove: Helps young people with self-esteem education
- Vaseline: Helps people frontline of poverty and disaster with skin healing programs
- Ben & Jerry’s: Campaigns for social justice and climate change
2018: 66% would switch to a new product from a purpose-driven brand from a product they typically buy, according to a Cone/ Porter Novelli study.
2019: A Deloitte study showed that more than 80% of consumers would be willing to pay more if a brand raised its prices to become more environmentally and socially responsible or pay higher wages to its employees.
Also, many consumers today make decisions based on how brands treat their people, how they treat the environment, and how they support the communities in which they operate.
2020: A global study by the Zeno group showed that consumers are 4X more likely to purchase from a purpose-driven brand and 4.5X more likely to recommend the brand to friends and family.
2021: 40% of consumers strongly consider values-driven attributes in their decision-making. Consumers are willing to pay up to 12% higher for purpose-driven brands, according to an Accenture study.
If we sum all these data up, it essentially shows us:
Top ways that purpose-driven brands drive sales
- Gets chosen more by its target audience compared to their competition
- Can command higher prices
- Grow more and faster than the competition
- Get recommendations from brand followers
- Can get consumers to switch from their current brands
Top features of purpose-driven brands
- Attract customers who share the same passions
- Stand out from the competition
- Environmentally or socially responsible
- Believes strongly in certain values
- Operates every aspect of business with a brand purpose at the core
Should small businesses also work with a brand purpose?
Now the question is, do small businesses need one?
Brand purpose drives sales for all businesses, both big and small.
In fact, brand purpose is especially relevant for small businesses as they don’t have huge marketing budgets. They can win more against their competition and grow their business by using their brand purpose.
Benefits of brand purpose for small businesses:
1. Builds differentiation
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, brand purpose can be the differentiating factor that sets a brand apart from its competition.
2. Attracts the right stakeholders
A brand purpose makes it clear why the brand exists. When you share your brand purpose and story, it makes it easier for you to attract the target audience, partners, and even employees, who share the same values.
It’s easier to grow your business when everyone is aligned toward the same goal.
3. Generates brand awareness
A brand purpose can help your small business to build awareness in a crowded marketplace.
It helps you be found, recommended (a lot through word-of-mouth), and be more attractive to potential customers and employees.
4. Gives a clear direction
Sometimes for small businesses, it feels like the possibilities are endless. There is so much you can do, and so many people you can target.
A purpose can help provide direction and focus. When you know why your brand exists, it’s easier to make decisions about what products or services to offer and how to market them.
5. Creates an emotional connection and builds a following
Purpose-driven brands are more likely to cut through the noise and connect with consumers on a deeper level.
In the long run, or even if your brand evolves over time, this can help you build a loyal fan base that will buy from you, recommend you, and stand by you. They will not switch over to competitors just over cheaper prices.
6. Retains talent
A clear brand purpose can be a powerful differentiator to attract the best people, especially for small businesses who don’t have the budget to offer the most competitive salaries.
Besides, purpose-driven employees are often more engaged and committed than those who don’t feel strongly connected to the mission of their company. So your purpose-driven brand is likely to achieve continuous growth.
Tips to create a purpose-driven brand that drives sales
While some studies show that consumers prefer brands that prioritize purpose OVER profit, no one said that you shouldn’t prioritize profit. If you don’t make money with your business, you won’t last long.
And it’s especially true for small businesses where you don’t have other brands to offset your losses from your purpose-driven brand.The key to having a sustainable, growing business is to align your purpose and profit. #branding #smallbusinessmarketing Click To Tweet
There are a few different ways to go about aligning your brand purpose with your sales targets.
1. Identify your brand purpose
Your brand purpose can be anything from wanting to make the world a better place to solve a specific problem that you’re passionate about or making the lives better of a specific target audience.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started:
- Start by asking yourself why you’re in business. What is your mission? What are you trying to achieve?
- Research your target market and find out what they’re looking for. What needs do they have that your products or services can meet?
- Think about the difference you want to make in the world. How does your business help others?
- Listen to your customers and followers. What are they saying about your brand? What do they need and want?
- Look at your competitors. What are they doing well? What could you do differently?
- Consider what values are most important to you and how they guide your decision-making.
- Which challenge and objective (besides making money) motivates you to keep going even when things are tough?
By taking the time to identify your brand purpose, you’ll be able to create a more focused and successful business.
2. Focus exclusively on your target audience.
The first is to make sure that your target market is aligned with your brand purpose. This means doing your research to ensure that the people you’re trying to reach with your marketing are those who would be most likely to support your brand’s mission.
For example, if you’re a solopreneur selling eco-friendly home goods, you’ll want to make sure you’re targeting green-minded consumers.
Please, don’t waste your time and resources trying to target everyone. Not everyone of a certain demographic, for example, cares about your brand story and purpose.
They might only care about low prices, which you may not be able to offer as your product from your purpose-driven brand has to match a certain quality standard.
3. Create the right products or services
Choose products or services that support your mission. This might mean slightly adjusting your offerings to ensure that they align with your brand purpose.
For example, if you’re a blogger who writes about social justice issues, you might consider only promoting products or services from companies that have a similar commitment to social responsibility.
Or if your purpose is to promote healthy living, you might consider selling fitness equipment or healthy food products. Alternatively, if your purpose is to educate people about environmental issues, you might sell eco-friendly products or offer educational courses.
By taking this approach, you can ensure that you stay on brand and also make money.
4. Create a brand story that connects to your audiences
How can you position your products or services in a way that resonates with your target market? How does it compare to your competition in terms of the value you offer, the price you charge, etc.?
So along with your business plan, also work on your competitive positioning. You can also create a competitive positioning map to help you.
- Develop a straightforward brand promise and put it on your homepage.
- Create a brand visual identity and color palette that match your brand purpose.
- Develop clear brand and marketing messages that resonates with your audience.
Get a FREE, detailed guide to creating your brand story
5. Align all brand activities to your brand purpose
Your brand purpose is like your north star.
You should use it to drive all of your branding and business decisions – from your business plan to the colors and fonts you use, to the way you communicate with your audience, and to all the operational decisions you take,
For example, if you’re passionate about environmental issues, you might choose to use sustainable materials and packaging for your products.
Or if you’re committed to social justice, you might choose to donate a portion of your profits to charity.
6. Create a community
Purpose-driven brands are more than just businesses – they’re communities. Be the leader of your brand community.
Create a space where people who share the same values and beliefs as you can come together and support each other.
The goal is to create meaningful relationships that will last.
As you start to build your brand community, remember that it takes time and effort to cultivate relationships. Be patient, be genuine, and be consistent in your messaging, and you’ll soon see your community begin to take shape.
As a small business or solopreneur, it can be difficult to create a purpose-driven brand. You might not have the resources of a large corporation, or you might not feel like your business is big enough to make a difference.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a purpose-driven brand for your small business.
- Start by thinking about what you care about and what change you want to see in the world, why you want your brand to exist.
- Keep that WHY at the heart of everything you do, from the content you create to the way you interact with your customers.
- Let it guide every aspect of your business decision-making.
- Be authentic and transparent with your audience, and always stay true to your purpose.
You’ll soon be on your way to creating a purpose-driven brand that gets you sales, as well as makes a positive impact in the world.
Is your brand purpose-driven? Do you have a reason to do what you do? How do you think brands can balance purpose and profits? Share in the comments!