brand story & messaging

What is a purpose-driven brand?

Carolyn McMaster | March 4, 2014

I recently sat in on a webinar entitled “How Do You Brand Purpose?” presented by the founders of Motto, a branding agency that “turns your business into a force for good that fuels higher profits using the most meaningful asset you have—your purpose.” It affirmed much of the branding and messaging work we do with our clients, whose work is guided by their social or environmental mission (or both). Key points that resonated with me were:

A purpose-driven brand can’t be manufactured as an add-on. Purpose must be built into the business, but it needs to be uncovered and expressed if it is to serve the business.

Purpose can be a company’s greatest asset. Just consider the examples set by these companies (B Corps all): Ben and Jerry’s, Greyston Bakery, Method, Patagonia, Plum Organics and Warby Parker. Purpose is inseparable from what makes them great. (We are a B Corp—if you don’t know about them, see this short video.)

The exploration work is worth it. If your company is working for a better world, it’s well worth the time to explore your purpose, articulate it, and communicate it effectively and consistently so it’s embedded in your brand. This takes work, but it’s an inspiring process that uncovers insights that will guide everything you do—not just your marketing. Purpose can then be a force that will:

  • Ignite passion about the business
  • Allow you to focus on your vision.
  • Rally the troops.
  • Inspire great culture.

At Thinkshift, we’ve see those results. A purpose-driven brand focuses a company on what’s really important, and frees it to make its own path and follow it. Communicated well, it naturally creates brand ambassadors inside and outside the company. In today’s marketplace, where there are so many channels and the focus is on being personal and “authentic,” that kind of support is essential to building and maintaining a healthy, sustainable business.


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