Building a purposeful brand — one that believes in something more valuable than profits alone — is a challenging but ultimately fruitful journey. It takes time, energy and tenacity to morph a business into the type of company where employees are energized, customers are advocates and competitors are envious.
Just by committing to do the important work of uncovering its purpose, a company begins separating itself from the competition.
- Executive commitment: An executive team that builds a purposeful brand understands the advantages of having everyone lead with the same end in mind. Their collective belief helps them to become a cohesive team, as opposed to one characterized by the typical “silos of excellence.When all of the executives of a company are on the same page, supporting each other in pursuing the same purpose with a collective commitment, they become unique and unstoppable.
- Cultural alignment: When a company is careful to attract only those who believe in its purpose and values as a business, it builds strong connections. Recruiting with purpose is a much different proposition than recruiting for skills alone. Employees become more engaged and tend to stay in their jobs longer.This reduces turnover and the costs associated with replacing an employee who is dissatisfied, doesn’t fit in, or simply doesn’t measure up to expectations. Finding and keeping those who believe in a company’s purpose creates an energized workplace. And an engaged employee is much more difficult for competitors to steal away.
Consistent communications: While most organizations attempt to be consistent with their rhetoric, the majority falls short. A message may start out with a simple idea, but by the time numerous hands have touched it, added or subtracted content to match their specific needs, the message has changed beyond recognition.
A purposeful brand is better able to speak with clarity by linking all rhetoric to a core message. It focuses on aligning with its purpose and resists getting bogged down in distracting side messages that dilute communications. It creates believable messages that are easy to understand, recall and repeat. And through clear, consistent communications, purposeful brands gain a competitive edge.
- Customer loyalty: Rather than attempting to grow solely through more transactions, purposeful brands seek to build long-term relationships with their customers. They believe people want to attach to something more meaningful than just price, timing or ease of acquisition.By connecting with customers in a way that shows a desire to both better understand them and serve them, companies with a well-articulated purpose avoid the customer churn that many companies experience.These organizations realize it is not a matter of continually replacing lost business but more about discovering how to keep existing clients happy. This approach not only reduces the cost of customer acquisition, but also builds the type of loyalty competitors dream about.
While it can be challenging to become a purposeful brand, the rewards are many. Those who take this journey will create enviable companies able to survive most any challenge while paving the way to a better future for all stakeholders.
Jackie Dryden, co-author with Bethany Andell of “Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line” (www.savagethinking.com), is chief purpose architect with Savage Brands, which works with companies to build purposeful brands. She also is author of “Just Me: What Your Child Wants You to Know About Parenting.”