The importance of defining your brand purpose

If you're looking to find new ways to stand out from your competition, define your brand purpose. In this blog, we'll discuss how to do that.

Standing out from your competition is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge. . Today’s consumers have more choice than ever before, and if you’re not making the effort to stand out and create added value, someone else will. 

If you’re reading this thinking “how do I know if my brand stands out?”, have you considered whether your target audience knows your brand purpose? Or more importantly, whether this brand purpose is strong enough for your target audience to feel it without being told about it? If not, this blog is for you. 

I got it wrong…

Like many other businesses, when the initial lockdown was announced in March 2020, the fear of the unknown set in. 

My initial thoughts were ‘how on earth do we respond to this?’. I suppose, at the time, everyone else was thinking the same thing. 

Once we had settled our heads into what life was going to be like for the foreseeable future, it became clear to us that our clients, potential clients and probably the majority of the world just wanted support. 

But, how could we offer that support, whilst still remaining relevant to our brand? Our target audience wanted to be educated. Many businesses were struggling over this period, so we saw the opportunity to share our marketing knowledge and, hopefully, make a difference to struggling businesses. 

This is why we started offering free webinars. Just some of the areas we covered were ‘Will your 2021 marketing strategy get you where you want to go?’ and ‘5 ways to convert your website visitors into customers’. This support contributed to our purpose- making a mark on the world. I’ll go into that in more detail later on. 

Like many other businesses, we too lost clients over this period. People were stripping back budgets and that was understandable. However, we did have some clients that were struggling and chose to stay because we offered out the support they needed at the time. 

When I look back at how our team responded to the situation, I realise how apparent it is that we’re so heavily aligned as a unit. Going into lockdown and being away from each other was a true test of trust. I could honestly feel that my team trusted me 100% throughout, and I trusted them. 

Being in this position helped me to understand our purpose on a much deeper level. Events like this can really show the cracks of an organisation, but we showed that we were serious about making a mark on the world, and I think the pandemic helped us to strengthen this purpose. 

What is our brand purpose and what does it mean? 

As I’ve mentioned before, our brand purpose is to make a mark on the world. But what does this mean? 

It’s all about the positive impact we have on people, be that our friends, family, partner or colleagues. But also, the positive impact Xpand has on people/ companies. 

From a monetary perspective, Xpand can help support a business owner. Our services can help expose businesses to a wider audience, and therefore greater revenue potential. In this context, we believe money is ‘nice to have’. The real impact is helping these individuals achieve their life goals by supporting their business growth, or potentially relieving some pressure so they can have a better work-life balance. 

You could also look at it from an employee perspective. Helping a business to grow will eventually branch into needing to recruit, or having the resource to support the development of their existing team. Either way, our services offer a greater value than return on investment alone. 

When I look at what our purpose means for the internal business, it reflects the time we put into the development of the team and supporting their learning. In the past year, I have recruited two new staff members; Charlotte straight from University, and Faaiza who we kept on after she proved to be an invaluable member of the team during her work experience. I’m a big believer in giving young people an opportunity to help them thrive and succeed.  

Our brand purpose in action

PE Planning 

We have worked with PE Planning, a team of PE specialists that create and deliver primary school PE lessons. 

What we did for the client: 

  • Branding
  • Website design and development
  • Social media management and support

The results: 

  • 50,000 downloads in 3 months

How did this feed into our brand purpose? 

With the work that PE Planning does, the 50,000 downloads alone meant that at least 50,000 children were getting access to physical education during lockdown. Our work has positively impacted the health of children. 

Headway recruitment

What we did for the client: 

  • Branding
  • Website design and development
  • SEO 

The results: 

  • £114k converted business directly from the website

How did this feed into our brand purpose? 

£114,000 of converted business for Headway equates to a significant number of candidates placed. Our work with Headway allowed all these people to gain jobs to help them lives their lives by paying their rent or mortgage or whatever else they used their income for. 

Queensmead school 

What we did for the client: 

  • Website design and development
  • Creation of recruitment animations 

The results: 

180% increase in recruitment applications compared to the previous 12 month period

How did this feed into our brand purpose? 

The increase in recruitment applications meant that more jobs were created to cater for the increase in students. Again, our work has helped an organisation create more jobs for the local community. 

Chris Makin 

What we did for the client: 

-Branding

– Website design & development

– SEO 

The results:

– £80,000 of converted business directly from the website 

How did this feed into our brand purpose? 

Chris works in mediation, so by helping increase the reach of his services to those who need them, we contributed to solving people’s problems with a very experienced mediator. 

How our purpose connects to the results pyramid 

As mentioned, achieving monetary results is important for a marketing agency. That’s a given. But what’s more important to us is how the results make the clients feel, the positive emotional impact. This led us to create our model, the results pyramid: 

This model demonstrates the levels of results that can be achieved. Stages 1 and 2 of the pyramid refer to the foundation work that needs to be put in place to start achieving results.. . Stage 3 is where the initial results start to show. These can be things like website visits, social media engagement and enquiries. They are all made up of the things we measure before it turns into a monetary result. Stage four is ROI (return on investment) where the monetary results start to show. At the top of the pyramid is stage five, emotional impact. It’s important to generate monetary results for our clients and improve their metrics, but we believe in going one step further and measuring the emotional impact on the business owner or marketing manager we are working with. We want to understand how we can go that one step further so our clients can feel the emotional impact of our work too. They’re the real results for us. 

It’s all about making a positive impact on people’s lives, and that’s what it’s about for us at Xpand. 

ROI- Monetary vs emotional 

It’s interesting that when you Google how to measure the ROI of your marketing campaigns, it usually refers to monetary value. There’s a belief  that the success of a campaign should be measured against your profit, and you’d be right in thinking that, because of course, part of being in business is about profitability. 

But what about the impact your business is having on the people around you? 

It’s easy to forget sometimes that we are marketing to real people, not data. And, although some people are driven by money, most are driven by emotions. In fact, emotional ROI is so important that a MaritzCX study revealed that 80% of companies that focus on the emotional impact they have on their customers have a better financial performance, year over year. 

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have accelerated the need for this, with a lot of businesses adopting the “we’re in this together” mentality, to show compassion and avoid the insensitive sales approach. This recognition fuels the idea that customers need more from brands than just monetary proof of ROI.  

We find too often that clients are heavily focused on the immediate vanity metrics such as likes, shares and click-through rates, to measure the success of their marketing campaigns. Depending on your goals, this isn’t the truest measure of success, and often doesn’t always equate to monetary ROI anyway. We find that focusing on the long-term impact your marketing campaign can have is more effective, such as building relationships, starting conversations and building communities.  

Marketing Week has highlighted, in a recent blog, that agencies need to focus on building partnerships with their customers to succeed in moving forward. Think about it, this pandemic has left a lot of businesses feeling vulnerable, and a lot are still feeling the impact of it over a year later. Creating partnerships will involve being responsive and agile to the changing landscape. This level of support is time-consuming, but you’re likely to have a happy customer that wants to stick around. 

At Xpand, our focus is on getting you results. We don’t JUST want to make you money, we want you to feel the positive impact our work is having, for you and your customers, and our community. 

What is a brand purpose? 

Your brand purpose represents the reason your business exists and what your business, and the individuals that make up your business, stand for. 

At Xpand, when we work with any client to create a strategy, we suggest that your brand should be at the heart of your business. Our model, SOLAR7 demonstrates this. It’s the element of your business that can set you apart from competitors. Without a real focus on building your brand, it’s harder to get your customers to connect with you and support your long-term sustainable growth.

The benefits of creating a brand purpose

Having a clear brand purpose is what makes you attractive to potential customers. The needs of customers are far greater now than just a need for a product or service, and people want to purchase from companies that are more than just about turning a profit and are focused on adding more value for their customers. Potentially, this is a result of the shift in attitude among the younger generations who are looking to purchase from brands that stand for more than hitting sales targets. It’s important for the evolving customer, that brands are clear on the positive impact they have on the world. 

This will help you to build more of an emotional relationship between your brand and your customer which can help support long-term relationships and customer loyalty. If nothing else, this is what will help your business stand out from the competition. 

How to define your brand purpose 

So, now we know what brand purpose is, and why it’s important for your business, we can discuss how to define it. 

It needs to be a balance between:

  1. Something you’re good at 
  2. Something you’re passionate about 
  3. Something the world needs

It’s important that you make sure your brand purpose is separate from your corporate social responsibility (CSR). That doesn’t mean you should neglect CSR, but engaging in activities such as fundraising with the team, isn’t related to your brand’s purpose because it has no relation to what you’re selling or providing. 

Simon Sinek, a bestselling author once said, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Your brand’s purpose should therefore be a reflection of why your brand exists, how your product or service fits into that and how you integrate that into your business processes. Because of this, your brand purpose should really have been there from the beginning. If you’re stating what your purpose is based on what you think your customer wants it to be, they’re likely to see right through it and it won’t have the same impact. 

With that being said, you need to think long term. Having a brand purpose is not a one-off tactic, rather a consideration that should be referred to within your marketing strategy. It’s an element of your brand that your customers should understand without being told. If you remain committed to your purpose, it’s more likely this will be the case. 

Examples of brand purpose in action 

Dove real beauty campaign 

Dove’s #BeautyBias campaign aims to address society’s stereotypes of beauty and what it means to be beautiful. They also emphasise how our judgement of people’s outside beauty can affect our judgement of people on the inside.

Their brand purpose is to encourage women to develop a positive relationship with beauty, so they can raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential. These campaigns reinforce their brand purpose to their customers. 

IKEA

IKEA’s vision is “to create a better everyday life for the many people”. This is a perfect example of a company whose brand purpose is centred around their customers’ needs. IKEA is focused on creating an affordable living that is both attractive and comfortable. The layout of their stores and their business model, making their products accessible internationally, support their brand purpose. 

What I’ve learnt 

When I look back at Xpand’s journey, I realise that I’ve learnt a lot. Our purpose was something I had to really take time to figure out and understand. I explained in detail about 5 years ago to my team at the time. Since then it has only been briefly spoken about when inducting new staff members. I soon came to realise that our purpose of ‘making a mark on the world’ wasn’t crisp enough, which was a problem I found both internally and externally. I suppose when I look back now, it could be seen as vague, but when you look at the work we do as a company and the knock-on effect this has outside of our organisation and within our community, it’s clear to see how our purpose works in action. 

Explaining our purpose in more detail helped everyone: 

  1. Remember. This was important for strengthening our brand purpose. It’s important that the team is clear on its meaning, so they can project it within their work.
  2. To help people understand deeper and believe in our purpose. This is essential. If your brand purpose is not understood externally and internally, it’s proving ineffective. 

I now find that it’s good to remind the team regularly about how our purpose is panning out and encourage them to identify ways they believe we have made our mark on the world. I find this really helps to keep our purpose alive within the team and reinforces the positive impact our work has on our clients and their customers. I find that this is motivating for the team, to have a goal to work towards that isn’t metric or monetary focused. After all, the staff I employ all have similar values and making a mark on the world comes naturally to them. 

It’s time to discover your brand purpose 

Hopefully, this blog has given you some insight into how to discover your own brand purpose and the benefits it can bring to your business if you commit to it long term. 

If you’re looking for additional support in discovering your brand purpose, don’t hesitate to get in touch, we have a team of experienced staff who are happy to help.