Why do I need a brand?
Good question! It’s one we’re often asked because it seems that somewhere along the way, ‘brand’, ‘logo’ and ‘branding’ became confused.
It’s critical to understand that branding is NOT marketing or design but the bedrock strategy supporting and directing your whole business so your brand strategy is fundamental to your business’s success, longevity and ongoing profitability.
Strategically-minded business managers realize that to create a properly valued brand, they must present customers with emotionally based, engaging, and compelling brand experiences that go beyond the service or product on the shelf.
Why Do I Need a Brand? Because Brands Add Value
It’s worth pointing out that a brand adds real value….now and in the future.
Dave Bookbinder, Director of Valuation Services at EisnerAmper, writes, “Like most things in valuation, the value of a brand is a forward-looking exercise, where the value of the asset today is equal to the present value of the asset’s cash flows in the future. In the case of a brand, the ‘cash flows’ are typically sales.” 
A brand adds asset value beyond tangible assets such as inventory, machinery, buildings, and land. Intangible assets are valued as intellectual property.
According to Investopedia, “…A company’s brand can be one of its most valuable assets. Brand value is intangible, making it difficult to quantify, but common approaches take into account the cost it would take to build a similar brand, the cost of royalties to use a brand name, and cash flow of comparative unbranded businesses.
Nike Inc., for example, owns one of the world’s most instantly recognizable logos, the “swoosh.” Forbes estimated Nike’s brand to be worth $29.6 billion in 2017, despite that fact that – in a world devoid of brand perception – taking the swoosh off Nike’s shoes and apparel would change nothing about their comfort or boost to athletes’ performance.” 
Brand Action Points for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Who Are Questioning ‘Why Do I Need A Brand?’
Step 1: Once you go from having an idea to creating a product or service, you must also create your branding, aligned with your business strategy. This is what provides direction for all marketing, communications and design, both internally within the business itself and also on the customer-facing front. (Note: design alone is NOT branding!)
In fact, a product or service is merely a generic entity until it is given meaning in people’s minds—through a brand.
Step 2: Build your brand using the brand codification process—mapping out your brand strategically to attract your ideal customers. As with any plan, it’s important to look down the road ahead.
We’re all busy so building the bedrock brand strategy supporting and directing your whole business to ensure it’s growth and sustained longevity may not be your top skillset. If you’d like professional branding input and want access to a detailed overview of what’s key in the brand strategy context to grow your business then get in touch? Alternatively book one of our transformational workshops, brand building intensives or masterclasses.
The Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind empowers you to build your brand strategy, raise the visibility of your brand, increase profitability, reduce customer acquisition costs and position your brand as the №1 choice for your customers.
Creating a Brand…and Everything That Embraces
Your brand needs to be thinking with its heart because emotion wins the battle for a customer’s wallet.
Branding involves a wide range of fundamental concepts. Most importantly, your brand is the cornerstone and foundation that your business is built upon.
Watch: “What is Branding?”
Related: Use Psychology in Your Brand Strategy to Create Irresistible Brand Experiences and Increase Sales
Think about Dove soap. There’s really nothing inspiring about a bar of soap to wash your hands and face; wouldn’t any inexpensive no-name product do the job? Yet, Dove sells more $4 billion worth of soap around inspirational brand pillars such as “Real Beauty.”
Think about Patagonia. They make jackets for outdoor activities to keep you warm, amongst other things. However, what’s a key factor in driving increased sales? A brand foundation promising to protect the environment, fight global warming, keep their carbon footprint to a minimum and do minimal damage to the planet while making the products their customers love. This mission is central to the Patagonia brand foundations and consequently attracts customers with similarly aligned values. Their continuous endeavours and brand activism are what also help maintain customer loyalty and referral amongst a like-minded community.
Note that just because something exists or can be found on the shelf doesn’t make it a brand; ‘enhancing’ it by slapping on a logo doesn’t create a brand either. Therefore:
- A logo is an identification via a recognizable mark or symbol.
- A brand is the emotional experience someone feels when they interact with a product or service because emotion drives purchase.
Remember: A brand on its own is not a logo.
Your logo is merely your visual identifier, not your brand.
When we think of a logo as the ID card in your wallet, there’s no confusion about the role it plays—and cannot play—when compared to the actual individual it represents.
A brand is required to identify the unique experience your product or service delivers and its key points of distinction from the competition.
Why Do I Need A Brand? Because It’s The Entity Through Which You Articulate Your Brand Positioning and Messaging To Attract Your Ideal Customers
The important considerations are:
- Whether or not your brand has a foundation to underpin the bedrock of your business
- What exactly are the pillars of that foundation supporting your business and,
- How is it communicated?
Looking a bit deeper, to ensure the clarity of a brand, the real questions are:
- What does your brand stand for?
- What does your brand promise to new and existing customers?
- What’s your brand for?
- What problem does your brand solve?
- How is your brand different?
- How does your brand make people feel?
If you think you might benefit from some professional assistance in building your brand, take a look at our popular “Brand Building Workshops.”
Feel free to get in touch.
Why Do I Need A Brand?
10 Reasons Why Branding is a Must-Have
A brand is the mark of ownership and a symbol of its guarantee. A brand is not anonymous, it doesn’t hide behind a no-name white label, because:
- Branding creates customer emotion, connection and experiences
- Branding defines expectations
- Branding makes and consistently fulfils a promise
- Branding promotes recognition and recall
- Branding reveals your DNA, the essence on which your whole distinct offering is built
- Branding carves a standout position for your brand, product or service, in the market with its own unique selling points
- Branding tells your distinctly compelling story
- Branding attracts your ‘dream team’ and cultivates a positive internal culture
- Branding generates word-of-mouth referral and cultivates brand ambassadors, inherent champions of your brand
- Branding creates value and drives sales growth
In this video, Hallmark Business Connections explains why connecting with customers through empathy is critical.
Why Do I Need A Brand? Because When the Bottle is Empty There is NO Brand, No Underlying Asset Value, No Longevity, No Premium Price Points
If the vision for your brand is not centred in a rich emotional connection with customers your brand may be visible, but it will lack personality. But a brand without personality is a brand without a soul — it’s just an empty container. As such, it fails to resonate and it cannot stimulate a purchase, no less a repeat purchase or ongoing growth.
Branding is the core DNA of your company – what makes it tick, the driving purpose behind everything you do and how you express your stand out brand personality at every touch point to engage your customers emotionally. Branding is the glue between your business and your customers.
Why Do I Need A Brand? Because branding is the Secret Sauce That Sells
We can agree broadly that:
- Cola is a refreshing drink
- Aspirin relieves a headache
- Cologne smells nice
Which one of these soft drinks would most people reach for on a grocery shelf? And why?
Which one of these pain relievers do most people reach for? And why?
Or given the choice which one of these perfumes would most people prefer? And why?
Or insurance brokers?
The Un-Branded Generics
Cola, aspirin, cologne, and insurance are all useful consumer products. But none can stand on its own without communicating as a brand. A generic cola, aspirin, cologne and insurer lack the critical emotional factors that underpin and drive customer purchasing behaviour.
Nonetheless, the no-label packaging delivers a message in itself…if you’re thinking cheap lower price, you’re correct. A lower price is an excellent example of brand differentiation. However, pricing on its own is just one aspect of brand building and a race to the bottom unless you have very deep pockets and a very large mass market, high volume sales strategy.
To survive, grow and thrive, every brand needs an identity—and that is so much more than just a design, logo, and packaging. Here’s what is still missing so that your B2B or B2C product or service strongly stands out and resonates with your ideal customers, attracting them to purchase.
- Brand mission
- Brand meaning
- Brand values
- Brand positioning
- Brand personality
- Brand promise
- Brand story
- Brand purchaser personas
- Brand hierarchy structures
Do you want to make your brand stand out as a highly recognised, memorable and much-loved name? The Personality Profile Performer™ System is the perfect on-demand solution for you because it’s a step-by-step process empowering you to build your brand yourself and become more profitable. Get the Personality Profile Performer™ Programme here now so you can make your brand No.1 in your market. Discover more here.
Why Do I Need A Brand? How A Great Product or Service Delivers Via Branding
In the consumer product and service illustrations above, the branded products “talk” to us. There’s an emotional connection that goes way beyond the packaging. We feel we trust these brands and “know” them…and that our parents did, too.
Strong branding is underpinned by a compelling mission statement that defines the company’s purpose and standards. Examples as follows:
- To refresh the world…
- To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…
- To create value and make a difference.
Science for a Better Life
“To be the Ultimate House of Luxury, defining style and creating desire,
now and forever.”
“To be the best…serving our customers by providing peace of mind and enriching their quality of life through our partnership in the management of the risks they face.”
Look closely at the logo for Allstate insurance. It symbolizes the tagline introduced in 1950 and in use ever since: “You’re in good hands with Allstate.” That’s a brand promise everyone can relate to.
Yet branding is so much more than just a mission statement or tagline. The answer to the question, “Do I need a brand or a visual identity?” is “Yes and yes to both.”
Small, Medium and Large Brands Matter
Size doesn’t matter. (Hint: But delightful customer experiences do matter.)
“Good stories give big voices to small ventures,” says digital marketing professional Neil Patel.
At Persona Branding and Design, our mission is to empower business leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs to build their brands. And in working across multiple sectors with leaders in different countries around the world we sometimes hear misconceptions like this one: “Big names spend money on branding, small companies just get on with the job.”
Whether your team is in tech, retail, consumer goods, construction, professional services or another sector, your brand is your voice and it speaks for everything you do; your reputation depends on it.
In fact, your brand is your reputation. Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) says it is what people say about you when you are not in the room so your brand is essentially what people think and feel when they see or hear your name, engage with somebody from the organisation who in effect represents your brand and the experience that entails in meeting and exceeding your needs — or falling short!
All Brands Start Out Small
All products and services need a “why.”
For two Airbnb founders in 2008, that “why” was a need for cash which they met by renting out an air mattress on the floor of their apartment to two strangers who couldn’t get a hotel room during a big San Francisco design convention. Crazy idea?
Watch: The Story No One Believed – Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO AirBnB
It has to start somewhere. The living room floor, a garage in Silicon Valley, or the back of a napkin in a coffee shop—like Harry Potter author JK Rowling— is as good a place as any for ideation.
Unicorns, those rare startups valued at over $1 billion USD (like Uber, Spotify, Airbnb), evolved from ideas to hugely successful global brands. Airbnb’s mid-2017 valuation was $31 billion USD.)
“Unicorns often start as a brilliant technology solution to an unmet consumer need or they purposefully or inadvertently tap into a changing consumer trend,” counsels Kantar Millward Brown in their BrandZ annual report.
Online and Offline Branding
As a small business owner or manager, you know that your community presence is far more important than it is for big brands that can rely more heavily on larger advertising budgets.
You may have a consumer-facing bricks and mortar establishment, you may trade as a B2B, or you may run a small internet business. Either way, you know how important a vibrant community, on and offline, together with word of mouth is.
Small businesses have lots of opportunities to connect with customers, building a strong brand through online and offline communities. And through their employees, too.
Having a great product or service is only the first step in the lifetime journey of your brand. Don’t stop the nurturing that brings your brand to life and enables it to grow.
As you can see, a brand is much more than a logo or just design. To build your standout, highly profitable brand, join one of our transformational workshops and masterclasses. These workshops are packed with content that enables you to define, articulate, and differentiate your brand, as well as put the latest branding trends to use for growing your business. Check out the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind here.
If you want some professional input, feel free to get in touch.
Questions To Consider — in Addition to “Why Do I Need A Brand?”
Ask yourself a few key questions about your product or service and the brand representing it.
- Does your product or service deliver an emotionally rich customer experience via its brand?
- If so, how does your brand use humour, hope, empathy, or another deeper connection to reach customers?
- Does your brand have unique attributes to set it aside from others in its segment?
- Does your brand answer the “why” question at its very core?
- Is your customer-facing team comfortable communicating your brand’s purpose?
If you’re looking for a DIY solution to build your standout brand, our Personality Profile Performer™Programme is the perfect solution for you because it empowers you to build a vibrant brand and inject it with meaning and purpose to drive customer purchase, all based on the latest developments in the branding industry. Discover more here.
Imagine having 10.1 million sets of eyes focused on your brand story. That’s an audience any company would kill for, and it just so happens to be the number of people who tuned in to watch the season seven premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones . Were you one of them? We certainly were.
The series is addictive, one of the most-watched pieces of television in history, and it didn’t achieve that status by accident. As you may know, it’s based on a series of fantasy novels by author George R. R. Martin, which focus on a deeply complex, highly compelling plot that interweaves multiple families, locations and warring social groups.
Game of Thrones has become one of the most captivating series of our time—but how?
It all comes down to the story. As brands, we can take away six key lessons on brand story from the hit TV series (warning: mild spoilers ahead). If you’re struggling to articulate your enthralling brand story, feel free to get in touch and ask about our Stellar Stories™ brand-building service. It enriches your brand with meaning so you stand out, attract your perfect audience and build trust amongst your ideal customers. Meantime read on because the story building guide below will enable you to develop your brand story a lot faster and more effectively.
Top 6 Tips for Building a Great Brand Story
1. A powerful brand story has a central theme
Remember being asked to identify the theme of a work of literature back in primary school? This isn’t too far off from your theme as a business owner. The theme serves as the ‘why?’ behind the story. It’s a specific problem that needs solving, expressed through your brand’s unique lens.
Game of Thrones has dozens of distinct plot lines, but they all centre around a single unifying theme: the quest for ultimate power. It’s the common thread that ties the whole story together. Whether we’re watching the Freys and Boltons carry out the infamous Red Wedding or waiting on the edges of our seats as the White Walkers advance, it all ties back to the unifying theme.
For entrepreneur Noa Santos, that theme was creating a new business model for interior designers .
While Santos was working at a large New York design firm, he identified a highly specific problem: without a massive budget, many home and business owners were unable to afford design services. Similarly, smaller designers who were just starting out had trouble getting their foot in the door and couldn’t command the same large fees charged by the big design houses.
Santos set out on a quest to redefine the established service model in the industry and bridge the gap between these two groups of people. It became his brand mission, and the result was the founding of his company, Homepolish.
2. Circumstances set the scene for the audience in every strong brand story
The circumstances of your brand story are what help set the scene and draw the audience in for the narrative ahead. These are the where, when and how and that give your story context and help the audience relate.
In a series as complex as Game of Thrones, clearly defining these circumstances is essential to avoid confusion among the audience. The Wall is one such example.
On a surface level, it’s a physical place: a tall, foreboding wall of ice. On a secondary level, it also holds layers of meaning: it’s what keeps the White Walkers out of Westeros (well, it was) and it’s where the Night’s Watch do their bidding. All the viewer has to do is see The Wall to recall all the implications that come with it.
The circumstances in your brand story needn’t be nearly as dark and foreboding, but they should help set the scene in a similar way.
3. Characters build an emotional connection in your brand story
This is one of the most important elements of your brand story: characters. Without them, you’ll be hard pressed to build an emotional connection with your audience (which is what drives brand loyalty and trust).
The producers and writers behind Game of Thrones do an exceptional job using characters to draw us into the story and get us hooked. Fan favourites like Daenerys Targaryen build our loyalty to the series and keep us coming back to see what happens episode after episode.
The professional group of YouTubers known as ‘Yes Theory’ is a perfect example of using likeable characters to build a fan base3. They’re four guys who do crazy things like sneaking into Hollywood parties and jumping out of helicopters.
Innovative? Hardly. Guys have been pulling silly stunts and recording them since the invention of the video camera. But their characters are so likeable—almost always grinning—that the viewer can hardly wait to hit ‘play’ on the next video.
While Yes Theory is an example of using yourself as the central character in your brand story, you can also flip things around and use the customer as the character. In some cases, this can be even more effective.
Kubota Tractor Company pulls this off with flying colours, using the ‘everyman’ of middle America — farmers, growers — to define who they are as a company.
It’s worthwhile to note that it’s not just positive characters that work in a brand story; negative ones can be useful as well. Game of Thrones’ Joffrey Baratheon is one of the ultimate negative characters that helps to drive the plot forward and give the story meaning.
For your brand, the negative character might be an unnecessary middleman or an aggressive competitor. Use your brand story to show how you win out.
Give us a call T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT 9:00 – 17:00) to find out how we can help you with your brand building and brand story requirements or send us an email to [email protected]
If you’d like to develop and expand your brand story yourself, our brand building programme, the Personality Profile Performer™ provides a very effective step-by-step system empowering you to build your brand and its brand story so you can create a really compelling narrative that enables you to make your brand stand out and attract your ideal customers. Find out more here and watch here how to build your brand yourself.
4. The audience wants to see you overcome struggle in your brand story
If it’s struggle you’re after (and yes, audiences are after it), Game of Thrones has it in spades. The series is chock full of conflicts and unexpected plot twists, which sometimes include the deaths of popular characters.
Humans are drawn to seeing conflict play out; that’s why it’s an important component of your brand story. It may take the form of conflict, fears, failures, uncertainties and frustrations. Maybe you succeeded as a challenger brand. Whatever the case, show the audience how you’ve overcome your struggles.
Erin French is the chef and owner behind The Lost Kitchen, a field-to-table restaurant concept in rural Maine . Each day, she designs the evening’s menu based on what’s available and what’s in season, using only ingredients from local farms and fields. Though popular, her dining room seats just 40 guests.
As renown for her cooking has grown, so has French’s popularity, which, for many a chef, would mean expanding and outsourcing and meeting the demands of whatever is considered “trendy” at any given moment.
Not for French, though. She’s remained true to her intimate, strictly-local roots despite the pressure to compete and expand. As such, it’s become a defining part of her brand story.
5. Transformational change is a good thing in your brand story
A good brand story isn’t static; it’s constantly shifting and evolving with your brand. Changes, catalysts, growth and revelations keep the audience interested.
In Game of Thrones, almost nothing remains consistent from one season to the next, and that’s one reason viewers keep tuning in. Season 7 brought a huge revelation—the true identity of Jon Snow—which sparked a social media firestorm and built anticipation for season 8.
A great real-life example of a transformational change in a brand story is that of High Brew Coffee .
Founder David Smith set out on a voyage not to build a coffee company, but to give his family a once-in-a-lifetime experience rafting through the Caribbean. From navigating unfamiliar waters to learning how to homeschool their children on the six-month trip, Smith and his wife needed something to keep them alert. In the hot Caribbean sun, though, a steaming cup of coffee didn’t exactly hit the spot.
The couple began making their own cold-brew joe on the boat, and the idea for High Brew Coffee was born.
How can your brand convey change? It may be by demonstrating how you’ve grown through the years, how you’ve defied naysayers, how you’ve exceeded expectations or helped facilitate change in the lives of your customers.
6. You must take the audience on a journey in your brand story
Any good story—be it a novel, a television show or brand story—has a clearly defined beginning, middle and end. The struggles we mentioned earlier culminate in a climax and the audience experiences resolution.
In Game of Thrones, each season stands alone as its own mini-journey while playing a larger role in the arc of the series as a whole. The ultimate resolution has yet to be achieved, which, again, is why we’ll keep tuning in.
Amazon Prime has an excellent example of taking the audience on a journey that includes a beginning, middle and end in the space of a single commercial. Watch:
It’s just 30 seconds long, and yet we meet characters (the family, the dog), understand circumstances (the parents just brought home a new baby), witness a struggle (the new baby doesn’t readily embrace the family dog), experience changes (the dad’s Amazon Prime order) and finally, achieve resolution (an adorable one at that).
Of course, there was an all-star marketing team behind this campaign, but it’s a powerful goal to aspire to when crafting your own brand story.
Just as Game of Thrones uses an exceptional story to draw viewers in and keep them hooked (seven seasons and counting!), so can you use your brand story to connect with customers on a deeper level and win fans for life.
Ready to become the number one in your market and stand out head and shoulders above the competition? Our Personality Profile Performer™ e-course enables you to develop a winning brand story that will attract your ideal audience and make your brand instantly recognizable. Find out how here.
Questions to consider:
- What’s the ‘why’ behind your brand?
- What circumstances (where, when and how) are important for your audience to know?
- Who are the central characters in your brand story?
- What key challenges or struggles have been overcome in your brand story?
- How have your characters or you changed since the start of your journey in your story?
- What is your brand’s beginning, middle and end?
Corporate social responsibility is dead in the traditional sense. Not because no one cares anymore, but because the field has been transformed into something entirely different now.
The TED speaker, Rachel Hutchisson, explains the details of this transformation.
Turns out the focus on corporate is extremely limiting, and CSR is taking a form of community or human social responsibility. But how did this transformation come about?
Well, we no longer rely on organizations to tell us what to do and which standards to follow. We go online, research, read reviews and make informed decisions without getting anyone else involved but our own judgment. Social responsibility turned into a conversation where businesses and customers are equal.
As a result, brands are struggling. If you too don’t know where to go from here, have a look at our Brand Audit service, that will provide a thorough examination of brand’s current position in the market and determine opportunities for improvement, including those in the social responsibility field. A Brand Audit will help enrich your brand with purpose so that it can stand out in the turbulent market.
How Corporate Social Responsibility Has Changed
The Internet opened up many opportunities for education and connected people on so many levels. We stopped seeing big businesses as the only entities that can affect social issues. In the world of connectivity, everyone has the power to make an impact.
The engagement with social issues has gone up, so that’s a huge plus. But, this also means that businesses are subjected to critical scrutiny. Now that the people are deeply involved, they expect every business, large or small, to join the conversation in a responsible and sustainable manner.
This rings especially true for the Millennials and Generation Z. Studies show that 80% of millennials  expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship.
What does it all mean for businesses? It is increasingly important for brands not only to be socially responsible but also to choose the right social mission and employ the right marketing tactics.
But don’t get too worried about implications and expenses. There are a plethora of benefits too.
Benefits of Building a Socially Responsible Brand
Of course, every business owner sees social responsibility from a profit-making angle. But watch this video from TED. The speaker, Alex Edmans, claims that businesses can both do good and do well. According to the speaker, social responsibility is not a way to drive profits but a way to do good for society while profits will come naturally.
Here are some other benefits of having a social purpose brand:
- Added benefit when seeking investor funding
When seeking investors, you have to tell a larger brand story. Investors favour ideas with an added twist.
They also understand that it takes more than a great idea to keep the company together. The ability to retain human capital and form mutually beneficial relationships with society are all taken into account.
- Competitive advantage
Consumers are socially conscious and are looking for brands that share the same mindset. The faster you are to adopt this mindset the more chances for your brand to be chosen over other brands.
Social responsibility elevates the brand to a new level, leaving all everyone else behind.
- Premium positioning and pricing
Customers don’t mind paying an increased price because subconsciously everyone understands that social responsibility means expenses.
Psychologically it makes people feel good when they contribute to society, so knowing that a brand is socially responsible puts people at ease with a lofty price tag.
- Increased brand loyalty
Loyalty is built on emotions, and is there a stronger emotion driver than the future of humanity? Brands that manage to establish a deep connection between their social initiatives and their customer base, enjoy unwavering brand loyalty.
- Stronger corporate culture
To understand a corporate culture in relation to branding check out this video from Sasha Strauss on what brand alignment is and why it’s important for employees to believe in your brand and your company.
It’s a known fact that people find meaning in jobs that focus on craftsmanship, kinship or service.
Socially responsible organizations can greatly benefit from this finding, by emphasizing the impact the company makes in their internal communication and thus providing employees with additional, powerful source of inspiration.
Visually all the benefits of social responsibility can be presented by the virtuous circle business model.
How to Create a Socially Conscious Brand
Before you embark on a mission of building a socially responsible brand, there are certain basics that need to be discussed. In particular, the models of socially responsible brands. These models are fluid concepts rather than strict guidelines.
4 Models of Socially Responsible Brands
Model 1. Social purpose as the core of a brand
Patagonia brand always advertised itself as a fair working conditions company with environmentally friendly production processes. Their business model is based on socially conscious practices.
If the brand suddenly decides to move their production to cheaper factories in the far-flung corners of China, it would undermine the very essence of a brand.
This model can be defined as “social purpose is what we do”.
Model 2. Social purpose as legitimacy
Business is an indispensable part of a society. When the business enters the market, it agrees to operate according to social expectations.
The expectations for businesses are pretty much the same as for people – do no harm, abide by the laws and contribute to the community.
Brands that build skate parks, plant tree line alleys in the city parks, create art installations in the city squares follow their social contract.
This model can be defined as “social purpose is how we’re expected to act”.
Model 3. Social purpose as a way to reach business goals
Companies worldwide have incorporated social purpose into their brand narrative to boost sales.
This model doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. People buy Macbook because it’s the best computer on the market, not because of the company’s commitment to carbon emission program. But the company’s social mission gives people a peace of mind.
This model can be defined as “social purpose is what we do to be successful”.
Model 4. Social purpose as a separate brand narrative
Companies operating in medical, social and education fields don’t have to do much to communicate their commitment to society. These brands have social mission infused in who they are.
This model can be defined as “social purpose is who we are”.
Now, let’s explore the exact process to create a socially responsible brand
Socially Responsible Brand Creation Process
Step 1. Choose the right social need
For businesses that are just starting their social responsibility quest, it helps to explore different ideas and get a bit creative before they land on one or two social causes to support. Usually, these ideas are restricted by the three realms: brand history, customers, and product.
To identify your social need first look at all three realms and list every single cause that comes to mind. Then score each cause from the brand, consumer and business perspectives.
The social need that emerges based on this analysis, will, ideally, lie on the convergence of all three realms.
In the brand audit process, we evaluate where and how to develop your brand’s social responsibility strategy and how to seamlessly incorporate it into your brand narrative.
For brands that prefer to do a brand audit internally, our brand audit health check programme, the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™, provides a simple but highly effective framework for identifying brand weaknesses, strength and opportunities so that you can easily create a powerful narrative that attracts the target audience. Find out more here and watch here of how to give your brand a health check yourself.
Step 2. Incorporate social purpose into the brand narrative
It’s important to tie the social purpose with the brand narrative. Without a clear statement of what your company does and why social purpose doesn’t bring any value.
Here are some ways you can incorporate social purpose into a new or existing brand story:
A great example of a carefully crafted buy-one-give-one narrative is TOMS brand. For every pair of slippers sold the company donates another pair to a person in need.
This type of brand narrative employs customer engagement to the fullest. People will always need a new pair of slippers and if they can help someone while they shop, they will.
This concept works for smaller brands too. It allows for many interpretations. For example, if you have a product that gets manufactured in the local community, people who buy your product, end up supporting the craftsmen who made it. You don’t have to give out part of the profit to apply a buy-one-give-one narrative. If the product creates jobs, it already has a social connotation.
This is exactly how Pura Vida owners have built their brand narrative. When you buy a bracelet from Pura Vida, an artisan in Guatemala can buy a dinner for his family.
Socially responsible business model
A great example of a small sustainable business is Everlane. The brand initially started as an environmentally friendly brand with transparent manufacturing processes and fair prices.
Social sustainability is at the heart of their business, this is what the brand has become known for.
Everlane example shows how to take a social issue that the industry has been talking about for ages and create a business that makes a real impact.
Even though Everlane is a small business and they don’t own thousands of factories to affect the state of the fashion industry, their initiative has started a conversation. And in the age of a social media, conversations spread like a fire.
Changes in the operational model
You might not have a material product that affects the society. But the way you do business impacts others.
Sacramento Event Planners is a small event planning agency, that specializes in the so-called greening events. The company promises the best event ever, but the impact of the event on the environment will be minimal.
Analyze your business and the way you conduct operations and see if you can alter some processes to negate the impact. For example, going paperless and saving energy in the office might not be important to your consumers, but when you apply those exact policies in a retail store, the effect is a lot more visible.
When a Walmart employee volunteers for at least 25 hours with a non-for-profit Walmart gives such an organization a $250 grant.
It’s a carefully crafted multi-dimensional program that provides benefits to everyone involved: employees can explore their passions through volunteerism, nonprofit organizations get a financial boost, and Walmart actively advertises its commitment to the community.
On a smaller scale, giving a day off to employees so that they can plant trees in the nearest park works the same way. Your team members will be grateful for a change of scenery, whilst the community with benefit from the beautiful greenery. Have a branded T-shirts ready and take lots of pictures and your brand will get the recognition it deserves.
Being a social influencer
Last year the Institute of Code ran a contest on social media that encouraged all women and girls to apply for programming scholarship at the Institute. The company is based in Bali and the campaign generated lots of hype online.
The contest immediately associated the brand with a female empowerment movement and proved that even small businesses can use social issues to drive awareness.
Educating on old vs new
Even though Tesla brand doesn’t run active social responsibility campaigns, it continuously educates consumers on the environmental benefits of using a clean source of energy. For example, in 2015 the company owner announced that he would open-source Tesla’s intellectual property so that everyone could follow Tesla’s vision of a clean future.
Tesla doesn’t have to make much effort in social responsibility. After all, the company produces the cleanest car on the planet. But business owners who are trying to improve on the old, no matter if it’s a slight improvement or a dramatic overturn, can employ similar tactics to inform and educate their consumers.
Offset business’s negative impact:
For an airline, carbon emission and fuel efficiency are the main concerns. Virgin Atlantic invests in a modern fleet, educates its captains on ways to improve fuel efficiency and offers customers an option to offset their carbon.
Everyone is somehow affecting the world around us, be it the environment or people: we drive cars and transport goods, wash the dishes and produce lots of waste.
As a small business owner, you can choose the cause your business affects most and devise a way to make the impact less severe.
For example, for delivery businesses, the effect of transportation on the environment can be huge but put a little more thought to route planning and you’ll save the planet a couple of years.
Step 3. Show the proof to the audience
There is no use in social purpose if you don’t communicate it. Even communication might not be enough.
While the older generation might accept social responsibility message as a stated fact, Millennials and Generation Z expect brands to show the proof and deep knowledge about the issues.
People will only reward brands who manage to show full transparency and authenticity.
Here are some ways you can show the proof:
- Online marketing
- Events around the issue
- Social Media campaigns
- Employee advocacy
- Updating the news section on the website
Standing Out In The Crowded Social Space
As we move towards a fully connected world, more companies will be adopting a social mission, making it less of a competitive advantage and more of the must-have element of branding.
However, experts agree that social responsibility is here to stay. It might be getting more conversational, we might expect more engagement and actual real impact from brands, but we still view socially responsible brands more favourably. And the first key to building a socially conscious company is a sound and clear brand strategy.
If you’d like to make social responsibility an integral part of your brand and how you do business then a brand audit, with that objective in mind, will help you evaluate where and how to develop your brand’s social responsibility strategy from the very start. A professional brand audit helps identify areas of weakness, strength and potential opportunities for innovation.
You can give your brand a health check yourself using our brand audit health check programme, the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™. Find out more here and watch here of how to give your brand a health check yourself.
Alternatively, if you’d like professional input and direction for building your brand and would like to leverage our experience and expertise then send us an email to [email protected] or give us a ring T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT hours 9:00 – 17:00). We’d be very happy to speak with you.
Questions to consider
- Would you pay a premium price for a socially conscious brand?
- What social causes feel natural for your business?
- Can you tie in your brand purpose with a social mission?
- What are the ways to incorporate a social purpose in business? Can you see how any one of these applies to you?
A quick answer please, if you can, to this question: “What does your brand really stand for?” in other words “What’s your brand purpose?”
If you hesitate to succinctly define the mission, vision, and values behind your brand – the primary raison d’être for your brand’s existence — your brand purpose — you can be certain that customers and potential new customers are missing the point entirely too. This is why it’s critical to codify and map out your brand so you are highly visible, stand out, can clearly articulate your brand purpose and deliver an unforgettably great customer experience.
In other words, if customers can’t meaningfully differentiate your brand from your competitors they will default to decisions based on price alone and they won’t pay a premium.
Because…when brands give, brands get.
Who Decides and Defines: What is Brand Purpose
Mind you, it’s not as easy as it sounds. In 2014, according to The World Federation of Advertisers, consumers and marketers can be confused by the meaning and focus of brand purpose.
“There is consensus that brand purpose is increasingly relevant,
but people and marketers don’t seem to agree on what it means.
Marketers see it as the bigger picture,
but people see it as what you do in daily life.” –
Stephan Loerke, managing director of the WFA
Where it Matters Most: Brand Purpose
Around the globe, consumers value brand purpose to varying degrees. Responses to whether consumers are willing to pay a premium for a product that supports good causes find Chinese with a very different view than Britons. Nevertheless, this survey result means that even at the low end of the scale, more than one in four would loosen their purse strings for a brand with purpose.
The concept of brand purpose is sometimes overlooked, or not clearly communicated, by small to medium-sized business owners and managers largely because the serious impact it has on accelerated business growth is not fully understood. Brand purpose can get lost in the frenetic pace of a busy startup. So it’s really important to underscore the huge influence brand purpose has on business outcomes, re-define the concept, and demonstrate its influence in commercial terms as the major driver behind perceived value, premium price points and higher sales.
Why Brand Purpose Matters
What do consumers think: Edelman’s brandshare studies reveal that 92 percent of 11,000 consumers surveyed in eight countries want brands to share their values more effectively. Overall, 40 percent don’t think brands are doing enough to communicate and demonstrate purpose in “helping the world” in some way.
What do executives think: In a study issued by EY Beacon Institute and Harvard Business Review, 85 percent of the 474 business executives surveyed indicated they strongly agree they’re more likely to recommend a company with a strong purpose. They also strongly agreed, at 80 percent, that a company with shared purpose will have greater customer loyalty.
See the results in two diagrams: Brands that prioritize brand purpose benefit from stronger growth.
Defining Brand Purpose
What does this all mean? Brands with clarity of purpose outperform brands who lack it. To survive, brands must live and breathe through their core values because these are the fundamentals differentiating a brand from all its competitors so it stands head and shoulders above all the rest — and consequently commands a premium.
Author Simon Sinek sums the lessons from his book, “Start With Why” in his famous TED Talk about communicating brand purpose.
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
– Simon Sinek
Sinek goes on to say, “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have; the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
Brand Purpose and Customers
The underlying message is that emotion drives purchase. Brands can engage primary customer emotions through articulating what the brand stands for, that is, purpose equals its mission, vision, and values.
Be Different, Be Transparent Through Brand Purpose
Brand purpose is also a primary factor in brand differentiation because when it is sufficiently strong and compelling, it makes a brand highly visible and different compared to every competitor.
Simplistically speaking, if a brand’s purpose is aligned with the values of its ideal primary audience, those customers will naturally be attracted to it and want to buy it. People reward brands that openly share their values when those values are transparent. “Do we believe in the same things?” is what a customer wants to know. However, it is not the customer’s job to dig deep for that answer.
If brands don’t stand up for what they stand for — and diligently communicate it — nobody knows what the brand purpose is all about.
Brands with a purpose command the customer’s attention because, price point aside, a meaningful, emotional connection is valuable to the purchaser.
Whether a giant corporation or small business owner, it is critical to identify your brand purpose. Are you entrepreneurial? Find out what you truly stand for as an entrepreneur. Determine how to embody this purpose and communicate it to everyone your brand interacts with, including employees. You will enjoy higher profits while making your lasting mark on the world.
If you want direction and support empowering you to transform your brand so you stand out with a strong brand purpose and increase your sales then the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is the perfect fit for you.
This is a two-day brand building intensive shared with a small group of like-minded peers where you work on your brand with our leadership. In fact, over the two days, you reevaluate your brand, codify it and create your brand purpose and strategy to stand out and attract your ideal customers whether you’re revitalizing an existing brand or creating a new one.
At the end of the two-day Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind you leave with absolute clarity on your brand purpose and your fully documented brand strategy ready for implementation in your business or organization.
This is not a theory based programme but a highly interactive fast-track programme where you work intensively on your brand throughout the two days duration, under our tutelage, using our ten step system to:
- Completely re-evaluate your brand to make it much stronger so it’s highly visible enabling you to increase your profits
- Map out your brand in full so it’s codified and comprehensively documented to grow your business faster
- You leave with your total brand road map or GPS of your brand empowering you to manage your brand, stand out and attract your ideal customers so you multiply your sales
Outcome: Your brand transformed so you can increase sales.
If your team is larger and you’d like to include everyone’s’ participation in the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind then we also run in-house private client brand building intensives tailored to your bespoke requirements so you’re empowered to take your business further a lot faster.
Give us a call T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT 9:00 – 17:00) to find out more and discuss your preferences or send us an email to [email protected]
Examples of Explicit Brand Purpose
Dove and Levi Strauss are two brands that articulate brand purpose extremely well, fueling the emotional factors that drive purchase decisions.
Here we delve into these two examples of successful brands whose achievements and prosperity are largely underpinned by very compelling brand purpose. While these are not small business examples, there are reasons tied to brand purpose that explain how these companies grew larger and more profitable because of their strong brand purpose.
Brand Purpose Example: Dove Beauty Bar
It’s been over a decade since Unilever launched the groundbreaking “Campaign for Real Beauty” for Dove.
Brand Purpose: “To educate and inspire girls and women to embrace a wider definition of beauty.”
Dove Real Beauty
“You’re more beautiful than you think,” was one early example. Following 19 million views on YouTube alone, its purpose of making women feel better about themselves launched the Dove Self-Esteem Project.
Result: “Since the inception of the Campaign for Real Beauty we have seen a significant positive shift in brand perception…Dove is seen both as a leader in the personal care company, as well as a leader in the Real Beauty conversation.”
Dove has achieved a return on investment that cannot be measured solely in uplift in the sale of bars of soap, although that’s occurred as well. Just ask one of their 27 million followers on Facebook.
In 10 years, the campaign, which Ad Age tapped as the best of the 21st century, has reportedly helped boost Dove sales from $2.5 billion to $4 billion, says the publication.
“…11 years since we launched the Dove Self-Esteem Project, more than 625,000 teachers have delivered a Dove self-esteem workshop and more than 1.5 million parents have engaged with our online content. We’ve already helped 19.4 million young people in 138 countries. But we won’t stop there. Our global mission is to reach 20 million more by 2020.”
What’s Next: Dove Real Beauty Productions launched in 2017 to bring touching real stories from real women to life in mini-videos. Meet Kylee, Meet Cathleen, and so on present revealing self-portraits, bravely challenging narrow definitions of “real beauty.”
How Much: At 6 bars of soap for $6.88, Dove Beauty Bar isn’t a costly item. But, $4 billion is a lot of soap. Clearly, women drawn in by the self-esteem campaign haven’t been concerned about getting another brand of soap for a few cents less.
Brand Purpose Example: Levi’s
In the mid-20th century, former CEO Walter Haas articulated Levi’s brand purpose: “Each of us has a capacity to make business not only a source of economic wealth but also a force for social and economic justice.”
Levi’s History: A brand’s history is “secretly seductive,” suggests Edelman. It can help to define purpose, as in why was the brand born in the first place? In the case of Levi’s, that answer is embedded in immigration, the nation’s westward expansion, family business, the determination and grit of its early nation builders, coupled with the boom of California Gold Rush days.
Manufacturing the world’s first blue jeans in 1873, Levi Strauss had an instant hit, creating durable, tough pants that miners needed to withstand the wear and tear of the job. Brass rivets were added to the pockets.
Giving Back: Due to the early success of the company, a commitment to giving back to the community began in the mid-19th century with support for an orphanage. Three decades later, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed Levi’s headquarters and two factories along with 80 percent of the city. The company responded by extending credit to its wholesale customers so they could get back on their feet and back in business.
The Levi Strauss Foundation
The Levi Strauss Foundation started with a 1897 donation to the University of California. From worker’s rights to environmental sustainability, the foundation continues its San Francisco Bay Area local commitments while making positive, major worldwide impact.
Levi Strauss & Co. Says: Giving back never goes out of style. “We’re well-known for doing things that are right, that may be difficult…” says Tracey Panek, the company historian.
Levi’s Core Values endure and help shape the brand culture in a positive way.
- Empathy — walking in other people’s shoes
- Originality — being authentic and innovative
- Integrity — doing the right thing
- Courage — standing up for what we believe
La Cocina is a commercial kitchen incubator for low-income women in San Francisco. It gives them “access to financial, marketing and business opportunities that will allow them to transform their passion into full-fledged livelihoods for them and their families,” explains Levi Strauss Foundation, which supports the cause.
Articulating Brand Purpose: In 1990, the Harvard Business Review interviewed Robert D. Haas, then Chairman and CEO, the great-great-grandnephew of the company founder whose uncle, father, and grandfather all led the company before him.
At that time, he explained what the company had learned from its century-long tradition for social responsibility and how that reputation is inextricably linked to Levi’s success.
“In the past, however, that tradition was viewed as something separate from how we ran the business. We always talked about the “hard stuff” and the “soft stuff.” The soft stuff was the company’s commitment to our work force. And the hard stuff was what really mattered: getting pants out the door.
What we’ve learned is that the soft stuff and the hard stuff are becoming increasingly intertwined. A company’s values—what it stands for, what its people believe in—are crucial to its competitive success. Indeed, values drive the business.”
– Robert D. Haas
In the ongoing story of “Who We Are,” Levi Strauss shares its message about “not just in what we do, but how we do it.”
How Much: Nobody ever said Levi’s 501 are the least expensive jeans. An average pair of purchased in San Francisco in mid-2017 is $67. You can certainly get jeans for less.
Financial Results: Levi’s financial results have been extraordinary over its 160 year lifetime. The 2016 Annual Report indicates that net revenue was $4.6 billion, representing 3 percent growth worldwide over the previous year.
How to Build Your Brand’s Purpose
When working with our private clients we use the Personality Profile Performer™ System to develop key brand foundational elements for their brands. The outputs from the Personality Profile Performer™ then provide you with your brand blueprint or brand roadmap, together with the brand direction for your brand design application in brand collateral, brand communications strategy, training and so forth.
If you want direction developing your brand so you can increase your profits then take a look at our online brand building eprogramme called the Personality Profile Performer™. This online course takes you through all the key steps you need to implement as you build your brand, including your brand purpose. You can watch a free course preview here.
Notice that purpose is one of the key building blocks for a strong brand foundation. This part of the brand foundation provides the critical direction for brand strategy, and consequently, for high performance with the laser-focused results marketers seek. Here we aim to show you how a well-defined brand purpose is inextricably tied to stronger brand performance that commands a higher price point.
Alternatively, if you’d like professional direction to develop your brand purpose and would like to explore working with us then send us an email to [email protected] or give us a ring T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT hour 9:00 – 17:00). We’d very happy to speak with you.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Would you pay a premium for these brands? Can you see why people do?
- Is your brand purpose well defined and well articulated?
- Can your customers express your brand purpose? Can your employees?
- Does your brand purpose reflect authenticity?
- How does your brand demonstrate its brand purpose across multiple customer touchpoints?
- Is your brand focused on creating purpose that commands your customers’ attention and discretionary spend?
Persona Branding & Design Consultants
Contact: Lorraine Carter
T: +353 1 832 2724
Sutton, Dublin 13, Ireland
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