The 2021 Brand Purpose Revival
The time has come for us to have THE conversation. I’m talking about PURPOSE. Being purpose-led and helping my clients and my team find their WHY is front and center of my core values. Hence, this article is essential to me, and I hope it will be helpful for you.
“If you find a Why then you can bear any How.”
The significance of finding your ´Purpose´ AKA `Why´ and putting it at the center of your work is not new. In 2001, the importance of having a vision and a higher purpose was introduced by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great. And in ‘Tribal Leadership’ by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright, first published in 2011, the concept of having a strong brand culture and core values was a central issue.
You would think, by now, finding your purpose would be ingrained in brand-building, so instilled in our culture and evident that there would be no need to discuss it. But apparently, it isn’t. The words purpose, purposeful, purpose-driven, and purpose-led have been buzzing again.
WHY NOW? WHAT’S UP WITH THE 2021 PURPOSE REVIVAL?
It’s not random that the word purpose has regained so much traction. Cultural researchers like me notice how global contexts and popular uses change word meanings beyond standard dictionary definitions.
For example, the author of the best-selling book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek, introduces the idea that Purpose is about finding your big WHY. “The WHY is the purpose, cause, or belief that drives every one of us.”
On a side note: I recommend watching Sinek’s TED talk. In it, he connects the Why with The Diffusion of Innovation theory. To learn more about this theory, check out my course, Using Trends As Your Thinking Partner.
When people are asked why they have certain life goals, the answer ultimately comes down to, ‘because it makes me happy.’ Humans always have and will follow different paths in pursuit of the same goal: happiness. By now, it is widespread knowledge that people who live a purposeful life live happier and are more resilient.
I have seen a surge in both individuals and companies trying to formulate purpose-led strategies to get to the other side of this pandemic and the instability that has come with it. This past year, we have experienced a collective existential crisis that has caused us to question and start working towards that `Why.´
Forward-thinking brands are working towards planting deep roots to grow tall and stable brands and a purpose-driven vision instead of running a hype-show based on the trending topic du jour.
As I explained in my newsletter on AUTHENTICITY, consumers use their value systems to guide them in their everyday purchases, not just the aspirational ones.
IS YOUR BRAND PURPOSE-LED?
In the Retail Archetypes of the Future report, the Founder of Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens, puts purpose at the center of a brand, “In the post-pandemic retail era. Purpose will be the new positioning.” And he asks, “If your brand is an answer, what’s the question?”
Another pertinent question passed down from the Business of Innovation’s (BOI) Low Touch Economy Report is “How can I join the winners?” Referring to the pool of winners living authentically, perpetuating purposeful acts, and positively influencing not just their tribe but the world.
Think of this newsletter as a brief but powerful curation of Purpose-led advice
After reading an abundance of reports, articles, newsletters, and books on the subject, I have filtered some questions and tips for considering when working on your brand purpose. Defining purpose requires some profound thinking, digging deep, diving into your inner world, and analyzing your business/product/service.
QUESTIONS for you to reflect on as you get started on your Purpose-led revival:
1. Have you found your Why?
2. Can you illustrate the reason you, as an individual, do what you do or why you have chosen to be part of or start a brand/company?
3. Can you define your purpose? How? If not, what do you feel you need to know to define it?
4. Does your purpose feel close to your heart?
5. How is your purpose connected to you and/or your brand’s or company’s story?
6. How does that connection have a positive impact? If it doesn’t, how can you change that?
7. What needs are you meeting for your tribe?
8. What action do they want to see globally? How is your business aiding or even creating that change?
9. How can you share your purpose in a way that will inspire your audience to trust and support your brand? (remember: action-led wins all the way!)
10. How will your purpose motivate your team?