In an era of killer competition, increased scrutiny and rampant anxiety, a new research by Quartz Insights, in collaboration with WE, finds 'PURPOSE AS THE NEW BOTTOM LINE' for brands to remain relevant.
Purpose can be the method of differentiation for the long haul. A brand’s purpose should accommodate new ideas and evolve with current events while staying true to its original mission. “Nothing’s going to exist forever. Create your purpose so that it can accommodate new ideas, and evolve, and change, but also stick true to what you set out to do.”
Examples of Some Big Brands and 'Young Brands' that are 'Standing Out' with Purpose
Climate Change and Sustainability are the Purpose Factors that are Driving Most Brands
AirBnB has doubled down on its belief that communities should represent a safe haven to its members at all times. Its disaster and emergency relief stays program allows hosts to offer their homes without charge to people in need as soon as disaster strikes. The company offers 24/7 customer support in disaster areas, and helps hosts prepare for disasters before they strike.
Starbucks has vowed to stop using plastic straws by 2020 following media coverage depicting immense ocean pollution caused by these disposable trappings. McDonald's is trialing a similar program in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Ikea is phasing out single use plastic from its stores and restaurants. Adidas first produced performance shoes and soccer jerseys made from recycled ocean plastics and polyester in 2016. The goal is to use only recycled plastic by 2024.
Unilever’s brand purpose is best summarised by its sustainable living plan, which the company describes as a commitment to “reduce its [environmental] footprint to future-proof its supply base, reduce costs and provide direct benefits to consumers to help improve their health and well-being”.
On April 2019, Apple announced a major expansion of its recycling programs, quadrupling the number of locations US customers can send their iPhone to be disassembled by Daisy, its recycling robot.
For some young brands, recycled plastic (sustainability) is central to their brand story. Rothy’s, a shoe brand that went into development in 2012 and launched four years later, sells flats, loafers, and sneakers made from old water bottles. Girlfriend Collective introduced its line of colorful, minimalist activewear, also made from plastic bottles, in 2016; it’s since been picked up by Reformation, the foremost “cool girl” brand for millennials.
To start with a purpose, a good starting point is looking at your brand’s original mission and what it already does well. This presents a strong, authentic foundation from which a purpose can emanate organically.
When PURPOSE is clear is becomes easier to engage customers and prospects — it’s about telling—and retelling.
"Repeated articulation of purpose helps customers understand an alignment of values, and solidifies a brand narrative in which customers can see themselves." For example, Electronics company Philips, has established an ambitious target to improve three billion lives a year by 2025. It has also set KPIs to measure its progress towards achieving it. The brand's messaging and design focuses on telling and re-telling of this overarching purpose.
STEPS TO START ON YOUR 'PURPOSE JOURNEY'
Purpose Helps You Build and Authentic Story to Align Your Product With
"When a brand’s purpose message is focused, repeatable, and sustainable, it makes it memorable and helps to differentiate it amidst the noise of other brand messages. These tenets shape messaging that is genuine and unshakeable at its core, but still malleable to evolve with changing social issues. On the other hand, "if you have defined your purpose, communicated with your audience, and aligned story and action, you will have a purpose that is consistent, ingrained, and reflective of your audience."
Without an overarching purpose your brand message becomes fragmented and irrelevant. A track record of sustained success is no longer a reliable predictor of future growth, or even survival. 52% of the companies that were included in the Fortune 500 in the year 2000 no longer exist.