By Lynn Manternach / Guest Column
Why does your business exist? If it’s just to make money, you might want to think a little bigger. Why does your brand exist in the world and society?
Your business’ purpose and values have the potential to be an important aspect of your brand’s long-term success. That’s because today’s consumers, particularly millennials, consider a brand’s values as they make purchasing decisions. For them, it’s not just about the product attributes. People want to purchase from brands with a purpose and values that make a positive social impact. They’re motivated by the good feelings they experience with their purchases from socially conscious companies.
So how does your brand make a difference? What would the world look like if your brand was not a part of it? Those are big questions that may not have an immediate answer, but there are two really good reasons to take the time to identify and articulate your brand’s purpose.
The first is because your brand’s purpose is relevant to consumers. The second reason is because it matters to your employees.
Your brand’s purpose clarifies what you and your employees stand for and believe. Employees who believe in the brand’s higher purpose will give that extra effort needed to make good things happen. Without a higher purpose, it’s just a job. People who are just doing a job have to find their own motivations for doing the job well. A big part of the reason companies that focus on a higher purpose are successful is because of the way it focuses and motivates employees and leadership.
Consumers experience your brand through the collective intent of the people behind it. Your purpose aligns employees and the organization to better serve its customers, which ultimately strengthens your brand connection with consumers. Your organization’s purpose is what connects the core beliefs of the people inside your organization with the fundamental human values of the people they serve.
Brands are like people and people are like brands. They are complex. They are multidimensional. They have a personality. Strong brands use their values to connect with people and what they care about.
Brands that have adjusted their thinking to focus on why they are in business rather than what they are in business for experience stronger financial growth and increased equity value. These businesses are not thinking about what products or services they need to ensure consumer loyalty. Instead, they are focused on why they exist in the first place, and the positive impact they can make on the world.
Purpose makes brands meaningful to consumers. It makes it easier for brands to connect with consumers because it gives consumers a reason to connect with brands.
Your organization’s higher purpose is your brand, if you can effectively integrate it into your organization. When you have a clear and compelling brand ideal that connects with universal human instincts, hopes and values, you have something people actually care about. It allows your organization to communicate its beliefs and messages internally to employees and externally to customers. It makes your organization the place that like-minded people want to work. It drives productivity, ideas, enthusiasm and ultimately, profit.
A brand is a critical component of business success, but a brand that is based on purpose and values has even more potential to build strong relationships both inside and outside the organization. So think bigger. You can make the world a better place and make money.
Lynn Manternach is brand arsonist and president at MindFire Communications Inc. in Cedar Rapids and Le Claire. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.