Brands with purpose win in a post-Covid world

Businesses now operate in a permanent state of disruption. Pandemics, social inequality, environmental disasters, and consumers play the role of activists by selecting where they spend their money.

Today more than ever, brands are looking for tactics to survive this constant wave of momentum and continuously seeking ways to stay relevant.

So, what strategies can you implement, not only to evolve but thrive?

Start by looking into the core of your brand to find the answer – your purpose.

Brands that harness their purpose have the power to hit commercial objectives, drive revenue and retain motivated staff. Moreover, the results are quantifiable, directly correlate with your business success and provide a distinct competitive advantage.

What is brand purpose?

Yes, you might already have a corporate vision in your employee handbook, but brand purpose is so much more than that.

Your purpose describes your ‘why’. What is your company’s core reason for being? What positive impact do you leave on this world? How do you plan to make life better for your target consumers?

Your purpose needs to be authentic, ownable and future-focused. A purpose requires conviction and sincerity. It needs to be championed by your leadership team and be built into your culture. It is a central idea to act as a framework for your brand and communications.

A brand purpose is a lens you look through to help guide your decision-making, define business strategies and use it as your ‘centre’ when the world throws yet another curveball.

Global brands that lead with purpose

Many of the world’s most valuable brands have always been genuinely purpose-led from conception; others have used purpose to pivot and realign their business and reputation.

A brand purpose is concise, emotive and expresses your reason for being.

Nike

to unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities and an equal playing field for all.

 
Starbucks

to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.

   
Facebook

to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

   
Google

to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

   
Ikea

to create a better everyday life for many people.

   
Dove

to help young people all around the world build positive body confidence and self-esteem.

Tesla’s ‘why’ is a powerful example of a brand with a purpose from conception. It is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.

They used their purpose to create a culture of technology, design and innovation, fuelled by an enormous ambition to move the world away from using fossil fuels (‘how’).

Tesla founder Elon Musk described his need for purpose as ‘Putting in long hours for a corporation is hard. Putting in long hours for a cause is easy’.
 

 

Brand purpose drives growth

Purpose-led brands are proven to perform better.

In his book Grow, Jim Stengel, the former CMO of Procter and Gamble, shared the results of a 10-year study of 50,000 brands and found that the ones centred around a core purpose beat their category competitors by significant margins.

  • The 50 highest-performing businesses out of 50,000 were the ones driven by brand purpose.
  • These 50 businesses grew three times faster than their competitors.
  • Investing in these brands would have yielded 400% greater returns than an investment in the S&P 500.

Jim’s rival, Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed, agreed and confirmed that the highest-performing brands in his portfolio were purpose-driven and growing at double the speed.

Drivers behind purpose-driven brands

Purpose begins with human beings. Your company’s purpose creates value both externally and internally. Customers, suppliers, partners, investors and staff all recognise the value.

When you lead with purpose, your business strategy, internal communications, and external marketing efforts become logical extensions of your brand. Purpose eliminates the gap between what you say and what you do.

From a consumer’s perspective, brand purpose provides a strong foundation for authentic communications, builds loyalty in a transient world and genuinely adds value to their lives.

From a people and culture angle, brand purpose assists in attracting quality talent, keeping them motivated, increasing job satisfaction and operating as a compass to keep decision making on course.

A Harvard Business Review study found that most executives believe brand purpose matters.

Furthermore, a McKinsey study confirmed that employees at purpose-driven companies are four times more engaged at work.

Winning companies are driven by purpose

Purpose can be a powerful lever in business. Treating purpose as a core driver of strategy and decision-making works across every industry and category, both domestically and internationally.

Brand purpose is a clear competitive advantage, but it must be genuine and infused in all aspects of your organisation and brand.

At Davidson, we see purpose as an essential part of brand strategy and design. It is the fundamental starting point within our Brand Framework, which leads to meaningful, engaging and impactful design.

We offer companies of all sizes a free strategy call with Davidson’s founder, Grant Davidson, to explore how brand purpose can drive your strategy and accelerate your business growth.

 

“Organisations thrive when everyone is rowing in the same direction. A well-integrated brand purpose steers that direction. Without a shared purpose, businesses tend to run around in circles, never making significant forward progress”.  Grant Davidson

 

NEED HELP?

 

If you need help creating a brand that pushes creative boundaries and inspires change, we’d like to offer you a complimentary strategy call with our Managing Director and Head of Strategy, Grant Davidson. Having nearly 30 years of industry experience working with groundbreaking brands, Grant has the experience and knowledge necessary to identify your core brand strategy and communicate it effectively.

 

Written by Tania Donohue
Tania is the Insights & Strategy Director at Davidson Branding. Over her 17year career, Tania has evolved countless existing brands and brought new ones to life. She approaches all projects from a hybrid ‘commercial-creative' lens, ensuring that all strategic and design work has a solid foundation to help businesses thrive.
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