Why Your Brand Needs Purpose

by Craig McBreen · 23 comments · Branding


What if I told you there was something that could deliver more power to you and more satisfaction to your customers?

You’d take that advice and run with it, right?

But of course.

Well step back and think about your brand.

You might be confident and think your brand is the best thing since conveyor belt sushi.

But most are part of another camp. Is my brand distinctive? Strong? Compelling? Is my business standing out like it should?

Are you? Is your business?

And even if you are super confident, where’s that gonna get you if you’re not delivering the goods? You know, something we boring consultants like to call “brand promise.”

I simply think it’s about having an overall plan and following through, so I’ll try not to bore you with marketing drivel. And if I do go all buzzword crazy just slap me silly, K?

So instead of talking about “brand promise” let’s focus on your purpose. Yes, Purpose!

What about you and your brand?

Small business. Pro blogger. Solopreneur. Handmade maven. Whatever your place in our crowded online space, you need the power of brand behind you.

And to me, this is more about “mission” than “promise.”

Think clearly about why you are here, and then use that definition to filter a continual delivery that is bang on.

How do you deliver on products? And what about those fine peeps you call customers? Are your services inline with what you’re touting? And are you wrapping this all in a nice, tight package that communicates your essence?

Now think about our online world, where many fine people are dealing with a jillion bits of information. They’re so bombarded and simply overwhelmed, it’s no wonder our old friend, traditional marketing has bought the farm.

Your potential customer is going to sift through gobs of information, pick what they want and ignore the rest.

Shouting the loudest and pushing every media channel in town doesn’t cut it any longer. People are looking for an experience, and the experience you are providing is built on your brand’s purpose. It’s the foundation of everything you do.

I don’t care if you’re a tech startup with a fancy new gadget, a consultant looking for gigs, or a budding blogger trying to sell goat leather boots, you need that foundation to survive and thrive.

So, let’s think through a few things, shall we?

1. What is your purpose here?
If you don’t have one, get out the Moleskin or what I use (a 99 cent spiral notebook) and get busy.

2. Does your branding make this clear? It’s great to have purpose, but is this proudly displayed in your tagline, writing and overall messaging?

3. And if you’re beyond step 1-2, do you make decisions based on said purpose? A clearly articulated mission-driven brand should be the filter everything runs through.

A system like this makes your brand stand out AND makes your life easier. Said filter streamlines the process, because it’s what you base most of your decisions on.

And that’s oh, so bombdiggity, for you and your clients.

Now go back and think about your brand model. Does you’re writing express what you’re all about. Are your communications consistent?

Every touchpoint, from blog posts to your tagline should be inline with your handy, dandy little purpose.

It shows you understand what you’re about and the customer will expect a consistent experience.

I’d say most strong brands have this in common, but this isn’t just about big companies. It’s about our little playing field. The more exposure you get, the more you deliver, and the more consistent your brand is across the board, the more and more and more you’ll stand out from the pack.

You do want prospective customers to look at you first when considering a purchase, yes?

Well, find your “why” and deliver. Let ‘er rip.

What’s the purpose of your brand?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Frithjof January 14, 2013 at 2:52 am

YES! I wanted to yell all the way through reading your post. I’m in the progress of re-writing my “about” page. Now that has highest priority. :-)
Thanks
Frithjof recently posted..How Do People Who Are Blind See The Internet? My Interview With Ruth BieberMy Profile

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Craig McBreen January 14, 2013 at 4:08 am

Well glad this helped and thank you for stopping in!

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Christiano Kwena January 14, 2013 at 5:05 am

Thank you.

I share my ideas online and would only want people who are interested in those ideas to find them. This way, I figure out that I am sparing all the rest of the internet users from the pain of having to read something they don’t want.

Based on this purpose, I put everything as ‘an about me’ content so that anyone who remotely dislikes what I do will unlikely land on my blog.
Christiano Kwena recently posted..bash-the-messenger syndrome prevalent on the net; are you sane?My Profile

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Craig McBreen January 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Christiano,

Thank you, and you nailed it! Whittling down purpose so there is clarity in your messaging and writing.

Appreciate you stopping in.

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Josh January 14, 2013 at 7:11 am

I see relationship building as being a key part of things. There are a million voices out here so part of our job is trying to help people determine why they should work with us.

When you accept the reality that there are probably competitors who are as good or better than you it gets to be more challenging.

But relationships make the distinction because we all respond to different voices/approaches and sometimes your personal touch might be the reason why someone hires you instead of the other guy.
Josh recently posted..The First Time He LaughedMy Profile

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Ralph January 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

True dat. Relationship in my industry goes a long, long way. In fact, relationships ARE the long tail.
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Craig McBreen January 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Hi Josh,

Yes indeed! Often the cornerstone of a successful business.

It’s certainly a part of maintaining a solid client list and it’s why I often hire people to work with me.

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Jens P. Berget January 15, 2013 at 11:52 am

That’s exactly what I’m thinking. But, I haven’t told my clients that, and I haven’t added it to my about page :)
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Craig McBreen January 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

People pick up on this ;) A not-so-shocking truth about selling :)

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Ralph January 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Interesting thoughts Craig.

I thought it was brazillions but hey jillions, brazillions, tomay-tow, tom-atto…whateve’s

Sometimes I think the bigger the Corp the tougher it is. I have to agree with Josh (as I already did) it’s more about relationships to me. I wrote a piece on this subject from my experience and found that mission statements are tough to find and ultimately understand.

The firm where I work has a very simple “mission” which is:

Do great work
Enjoy the journey
Make a difference
Create success

It’s the first where I can grasp it. It is deliberately open ended such that you can interpret each of the 4 statements in many ways and choose which suits you better. After 2 1/2 years here I can honestly say our culture supports the statements. The challenge I have is relating this back to brand image (logo’s and the like). We all need image. I get that but I guess to me the brand image or brand promise is all about how your customers see the people in your organization be it one or 10,000 or whatever.

I know this Zappo’s thing has been beaten to death but I wonder about Tony Hsieh’s new book; Delivering Happiness. I do wonder if he concerns himself more with how he communicates and what message is being communicated by his people than by the physical image.

I think this is what you are getting with the “every touchpoint” and purpose coming out in your message (writing, etc).

People are going to search for results and are going to choose ones based on word of mouth and recommendations so I suppose the way you treat your customers is your brand promise in a way.
Ralph recently posted..QOTW 2013: Week 3: What is our obsession with knowing everyone’s preferences?My Profile

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Craig McBreen January 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Hi Ralph,

I’m cool with Brazillions. In fact, I wouldn’t mind being in Rio de Janeiro right now.

“Sometimes I think the bigger the Corp the tougher it is.”
– So true.

About every touchpoint. To me, this kinda sums it up: Think clearly about why you are here, and then use that definition to filter a continual delivery that is bang on.

Easier with a solopreneur, I know.

For a large organization, you could work from a very specific and concise positioning statement. Here I go with the boring marketing speak, but that would contain the following elements … Your Target market. The specific need of that target market. A super-clear description of your services. And then A description of how your product satisfies a need and what makes it super-duper unique.

That specific info kinda becomes rote and with a mission (like the great one you provided) which is more about philosophy (to me at least) you have a killer combo. The positioning is a nice little reference guide (more specific) and the mission (maybe a tad more esoteric) can be more open ended.

But that philosophy is so important, and that includes relationships.

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Ralph January 16, 2013 at 11:31 am
Craig McBreen January 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Thank you, kind Sir!

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Tim Bonner January 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Hey Craig

I’m the same as Josh. I see relationship building as a really important part of my place in the blogosphere.

It’s really part of my purpose; to get to know people and to help them wherever I can with some stories about things that are going on with and around me.

I made it past number 1 in your list but I have to go to jail with number 2. Branding is my downfall. I think it’s there in my writing but I need a rethink of the blog design.
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Craig McBreen January 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Hi Tim,

We can all agree on that and I thank Josh for bringing it up. Going to write a post on the very topic :)

The tone of your writing is certainly part of it, but #2 is really about your tagline, writing and overall messaging. When I start a project with clients one of the first things I do is have them come up with a positioning statement. With a little back and forth it starts the ball rolling. This is an oldie but a goodie from Marketing Profs, and I often whittle this process down for my business clients.

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Manickam Vijayabanu January 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Craig,

Wonderful article. From my view either online or real-time business, your business strategy, target audience and communication all does matter.

Social media or online driven is another way just to reach people. But the best bet, where you would like to head? that’s key. Once if we could define our set goals and reaching target is just time matter. Slowly we start looking the options and try and communicate. Things will flow.

understanding consumers, or audience pulse is very important before you build your brand. It can be anything. Thanks for sharing the nice post.
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Craig McBreen January 23, 2013 at 4:24 am

Hi Manickam,

Thank you!

Yes, decide where you want to really go and align that with purpose. And infuse everything you do with said purpose!

Appreciate you stopping by!

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