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Brand Purpose — what is it and why should we care?

May 30, 2022
5 mins
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Rowena Fernandes

The Power of Brand Purpose

By Rowena Fernandes, ‘Challenging Stereotypes.’

Finding your brand purpose should be the number one step of your overall brand strategy, yet very few do it. Through this article, I would like to explain the concept of brand purpose and why it’s so essential to any organisation’s brand strategy.

Let’s first understand ‘what is purpose’?

Purpose is defined as ‘why you do something or why something exists’

The power of brand purpose
The power of brand purpose

So, what is a Brand Purpose?

A brand purpose is the reason for an organisation’s activities. It is based on what a company strongly believes in, and what difference it can make in the world. It isn’t necessarily about saving the planet, however, it needs to be worthy to some extent.

Simply put, it is the reason for the brand to exist beyond making money.

What is NOT a Brand Purpose?

Brand purpose is not the vision you aim to achieve nor the mission nor the values. Refer to the below image to understand how brand purpose differs from vision, mission & values.

Why it is so important?

While every organization knows what they do (e.g. selling soaps, laptops), some know how they do it (e.g. through a clear brand differentiation strategy, a fun packaging design, a creative ad campaign), but very few actually know why they do it (e.g. to help people feel good and accept their body as it is, as Dove does it). Brands that have a clear brand purpose:

  • Garners commitment from their employees for a belief that will add value to the lives of their consumers, other stakeholders, society and/or the environment.
  • Have a focused long-term strategy and hence all business decision is taken to ensure sustainable growth.
  • Builds a strong corporate culture with a clear vision for the brand’s long-term mission thereby ensuring all its marketing communications are in sync with business strategy.

Now that we are convinced of the importance of having a clear brand purpose, let’s now look at how to arrive at your Brand’s Purpose?

For this I recommend the ‘Why, How, What’ model shared by Simon Sinek’s in his hugely popular TED Talk wherein Sinek explains the “Start with Why” brand strategy model.

The WHY ring of the circle articulates your PURPOSE. It answers “why do you do what you do?” It is the very reason why you exist, besides making money. It can also be referred to as your CAUSE, or BELIEF, or MOTIVATION. It is what inspires action or desired behaviour.

The HOW explains the unique PROCESS (aka MISSION) you undertake every day to realize your purpose. It answers “how do you do what you do?” and explains what makes you special in the making. It might include your strengths or values that set you apart from your competition.

The WHAT answers “what do you do” and can be expressed as the product(s) you sell or the service(s) you offer. It is the RESULT of your actions or the proof of your existence. In some cases, it can also be called POSITIONING or the position you take in the world.

To better understand this model, mentioned below are a few brands that use the ‘Why, How, What’ strategy:

Adidas’ brand purpose, mission, and positioning strategy

  • Why (Brand Purpose) — Through sport, we have the power to change lives.
  • How (Mission) — Helping athletes push beyond the limits and make a difference in their games, lives, and world.
  • What (Positioning) — We create change through sport.

Tanishq’s brand purpose, mission, and positioning strategy

  • Why (Brand Purpose) — Aims to be an integral part of a life’s journey.
  • How (Mission) — Offers jewellery that capture the beauty and celebration of special occasions in the life of the Indian woman.
  • What (Positioning) — Designs which appeal to the Indian audience, advertisements which is all-inclusive of religion and/or challenges societal stereotypes

Spotify’s brand purpose, mission, and positioning strategy

  • Why (Brand Purpose) — To create a cultural platform that unlocks creativity and offers music for everyone.
  • How (Mission) — Allowing music artists to live off their art and fans to enjoy & be inspired by it.
  • What (Positioning) — A music streaming service with millions of tracks delivering the right music for every moment.
To summarise in the words of Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”.

And, hopefully this is a good reason WHY you need to start re-looking at your brand’s purpose and live it every day.

Meet the team!

Rowena Fernandes

Mridula Saravanan

We at CaratLane are solving some of the most intriguing challenges to make our mark in the relatively uncharted omnichannel jewellery industry. If you are interested in tackling such obstacles, feel free to drop your updated resume/CV to!
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