Why worry about brand purpose? Because “Brands that don’t stand for something will be disposed of.”
Alan Jope, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever.
And there you have its importance. The modern consumer wants products and services that reflect their value system. Sometimes, this means your brand needs to take a stance on global issues that concern your customers.
But What Exactly is Brand Purpose?
Your brand purpose is the reason you do what you do.
Aside from making money, every brand needs a raison d’être, whether solving the world’s problems or making your customers’ lives easier. Your brand purpose functions as a mission statement and connects with the other elements of your brand story and messaging.
According to Stefan Chekanov, co-founder and CEO of Brosix, brand purpose acts as a solid foundation for your business, and every decision you make should connect back to what the brand stands for.
“Yes, you should keep up with trends, but if you’re not consistent with who you are, how will people know who you are and what you stand for? So, it's not just saying, "Hey, look at us doing this trend!" but more like, "We get you, and here's how we fit into the things you care about."”
Why Bother About Brand Purpose if You’re a SaaS Brand
SaaS brands are often all about product-market fit. However, inherent within the need for product-market fit is the tension between your brand purpose and the functional need your product solves.
Here are some benefits of thinking about your brand purpose from day one:
Connects You with Your Customers
Your brand purpose enables you to connect with your customers on a human level beyond the traditional client-provider relationship.
According to Will Yang, Head of Growth & Customer Success at Instrumentl, “[Brand purpose] can also enhance customer loyalty. In the competitive SaaS market, customers who believe in a company's mission are more likely to remain loyal, even when faced with alternatives offering similar services.”
Defining your brand purpose makes it easier to determine which direction you want to take your business.
Yang suggests considering ways to align your innovation strategy with your brand purpose.
He explains, “SaaS businesses need to root their technological advancements and software upgrades in their core mission. This could mean focusing on user experience, providing top-notch customer support, or developing breakthrough features that align with the brand's vision.”
Boosts Employee Retention
Attracting and retaining top talent is one of the biggest challenges in SaaS right now.
Here’s Yang on how a good brand purpose can have surprising benefits in this area of your business. “A clear and well-communicated brand purpose can help attract and retain employees. People are more likely to join and stay with an organization whose values align with their own.”
How to Craft a Great Brand Purpose Statement
A great brand purpose statement is at once aspirational and authentic. It’s…
- Unique to your brand
- Key to your approach to brand management strategy
- Intrinsic to the kind of work that you’re already doing with your product or service offering
- Inspires your key stakeholders - from clients to employees.
Here’s Katharina Larikka, CRO at Droppe, on the importance of crafting a strong brand purpose statement, “B2B decision makers are not swayed by emotions similarly as consumers but a common purpose can create great long term partnerships. You’ll want to share your brand purpose not only through your marketing campaigns but also through your product innovations.”
Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle is an excellent place to start when creating your brand purpose.
Sinek suggests you ask yourself three questions:
- Why does the brand do what it does?
- How does the brand do it?
- What does the brand do?
Understanding your “why” and communicating your brand's underlying purpose establishes the groundwork for building all the other elements. This includes your “how” (organizational culture, brand experience) and your “what” (products or services offered).
Here are some examples of brand purpose statements done well to inspire you as you write yours.
40 Examples of Purpose-Driven Brands
Let’s look at real-world examples of businesses driven by a strong brand purpose and how aligning their business model and marketing strategy with their brand values helped skyrocket them to success.
Brand purpose statement: To save our home planet.
Grassroots environmental activism is at the core of Patagonia’s brand. Instead of marketing the brand, Patagonia’s Director of Global Communications and Public Relations Corley Kenna says, “we emphasize brand storytelling and spotlight the environmental causes we care about.”
Brand purpose statement: To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long touted the brand’s purpose of promoting sustainability and moving away from reliance on fossil fuels, a mission far beyond selling cars. “The acceleration of sustainable energy is absolutely fundamental, because this is the next potential risk for humanity,” Musk says. “So obviously, that is, by far and away, the most important thing.”
Brand purpose statement: To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and helpful.
Google’s brand purpose helps drive its business practices while also supporting a strong company culture, according to Nick Doulakis, CEO at Orases. “Google has a great culture because it has a great purpose that is clear and direct. Having a mission that the company sticks to helps Google have a leading culture.”
Brand purpose statement: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete globally.
Nike goes beyond the role of a typical apparel company. Through its Social Community Impact Team and the Nike Foundation, the company strives to empower young athletes worldwide, embodying the business’s brand purpose.
Brand purpose statement: To refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit.
Through its robust corporate social responsibility programs that aim to protect water resources, Coca-Cola has managed to firmly entrench itself as a brand and attract employees who want to work for a company that is concerned with more than just selling products. According to Coca-Cola, “It’s central to the long-term success of our business and the health of our communities. We have a responsibility to respect and protect water resources.”
Brand purpose statement: To create a better everyday life for many people.
IKEA’s brand purpose informs the evolution of its business and the design of its products with a focus on simplicity, functionality, and affordability.
7. Ben & Jerry's
Brand purpose statement: To make the best possible ice cream in the nicest way possible.
What makes Ben & Jerry’s so lovely? Aside from its delicious product, the brand uses a reverse-engineering approach to business by considering its business's more significant social and environmental impact over its business needs and developing a business strategy to support its values.
Brand purpose statement: To entertain, inform, and inspire people around the globe.
According to Tom Boyles, Senior Vice President, Global Customer Managed Relationships, at Disney, the key to the brand’s success is getting to know its guests well enough to be relevant to them. Every time customers interact with the Disney brand, they strive to deliver a magical experience. In this way, they have come to be known as the most trusted provider in the space.
9. Whole Foods Market
Brand purpose statement: To nourish people and the planet.
As a purpose-led company, Whole Foods strives to align its customer experience with its brand purpose. They consider the impact of every action they take, from selling high-quality natural and organic foods to prioritizing an equitable partnership with their suppliers.
Brand purpose statement: To inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.
Recognizing the fundamental role the business has played in the growth and development of children, LEGO was able to turn its business around by centering this as the purpose of its business instead of profit. By organizing every aspect of their company around this purpose, LEGO went from experiencing losses of $300 million a year to becoming one of the most successful brands in the world.
Brand purpose statement: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
Starbucks has centered its marketing efforts around promoting its brand purpose rather than its new products, focusing on the importance of human connection. This helps the brand to connect with its audience on an emotional level.
Brand purpose statement: To bring customers the best user experience through its innovative hardware, software, and services.
Apple's brand purpose is rooted in a commitment to innovation, design excellence, and the design of user-friendly technology that enhances people's lives. This purpose informs the products they create, seamlessly integrating into users' daily experiences and inspiring creativity.
Brand purpose statement: To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
LinkedIn’s brand purpose focuses on the power of relationship building within a professional context, offering more than just a social platform. Their business strives to connect professionals, facilitate career growth, and create opportunities for meaningful professional relationships.
14. Johnson & Johnson
Brand purpose statement: To help people everywhere live longer, healthier, happier lives.
Johnson & Johnson engages in various corporate social responsibility initiatives that align with its brand purpose. This includes efforts to enhance public health, support communities, and provide assistance during times of crisis.
Brand purpose statement: To create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.
Airbnb provides travelers with access to a diverse array of destinations and cultural experiences. The platform's reach contributes to its success in offering a sense of belonging on a global scale.
Brand purpose statement: To make sustainable living commonplace.
Unilever's brand purpose goes beyond short-term profit considerations. The company's focus on long-term sustainability aligns with the evolving values of consumers who increasingly prioritize ethical and responsible business practices.
Brand purpose statement: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Microsoft has a history of innovation, consistently introducing products and services that positively impact personal and business productivity. This reinforces its brand purpose of empowering people through technology.
Brand purpose statement: To change the world through digital experiences.
Adobe’s commitment to innovation aligns with its brand purpose, empowering users to stay at the forefront of creative possibilities. Through platforms like Behance, the brand allows users to showcase their work and encourages collaboration, promoting a sense of belonging and connection among creatives.
19. Southwest Airlines
Brand purpose statement: To connect people to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.
Southwest Airlines capitalizes on its reputation for having a fun and friendly company culture. Its employees are often referred to as "Southwest Warriors," contributing to the brand purpose by creating a welcoming atmosphere that sets the airline apart from competitors.
Brand purpose statement: To fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology.
Sony has made efforts to address environmental sustainability concerns by implementing eco-friendly practices in its operations and promoting responsible sourcing, aligning with its brand purpose and the growing consumer preference for environmentally conscious brands.
Brand purpose statement: To lead in the invention, development, and manufacture of the industry's most advanced information technologies.
IBM has proactively promoted responsible and ethical artificial intelligence (AI) practices. The company advocates for the fair and transparent use of AI, demonstrating its interest in using technology intentionally and for the good of society.
Brand purpose statement: To produce reliable and sustainable vehicles.
Toyota offers a quality product that stands up to its brand purpose. The longevity of Toyota vehicles and the positive ownership experiences of many customers contribute to brand loyalty and repeat business.
Brand purpose statement: To connect the world through the most innovative, reliable, and secure payment network.
Visa stands by its brand purpose by collaborating with other financial institutions, merchants, and technology partners worldwide, enhancing the reach and functionality of Visa's payment network.
Brand purpose statement: To advance sustainable commerce and financial inclusion.
Mastercard is actively involved in initiatives aimed at promoting financial inclusion. The brand's efforts to expand access to digital financial services, especially in underserved communities, align with broader societal goals and contribute to its positive brand image.
25. Procter & Gamble (P&G)
Brand purpose statement: To provide branded products and services of superior quality and value.
P&G is known for its focus on consumer needs and preferences. The company continually invests in research and development to innovate and improve its products, ensuring they address the evolving needs of consumers.
26. General Electric (GE)
Brand purpose statement: To build, power, move, and cure the world.
Through partnerships with other companies, governments, and organizations, GE has contributed to major projects and initiatives on a global scale, expanding the reach and impact of GE's solutions.
Brand purpose statement: To improve every life through innovative science.
3M focuses on understanding and addressing the needs of its customers, along with its commitment to innovation. The company's customer-centric approach involves developing products and solutions that provide value and solve real-world problems.
28. Dell Technologies
Brand purpose statement: To drive human progress through groundbreaking technology.
Dell's pioneering direct-to-customer model, where customers can customize and purchase products directly from the company, was a crucial factor in its early success. This approach streamlined the supply chain, reduced costs, and allowed for greater customization.
Brand purpose statement: To inspire the world with innovative technologies, products, and design that enrich people's lives.
Samsung embraces digital transformation trends and the concept of connected living. The brand plans its ecosystem of products to integrate and provide a connected experience for users seamlessly. Its brand purpose also allows Samsung launch successful brand extensions.
Brand purpose statement: To deliver innovations for a connected life.
Bosch is synonymous with engineering excellence. The brand's technical expertise and focus on precision contribute to developing reliable and advanced solutions.
31. The Body Shop
Brand purpose statement: To fight for a fairer, more beautiful world.
The Body Shop fights the good fight by leveraging its ability to broadly influence industry practices and consumer behavior. The brand's impact extends beyond individual transactions, contributing to customer well-being and positive changes in the beauty and cosmetics industry.
Brand purpose statement: To unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.
Spotify fosters community and human creativity through features like collaborative playlists and social media sharing. Users can engage with friends, share playlists, and discover music together, creating a social aspect to the platform.
Brand purpose statement: To make education free and accessible to all.
Duolingo's freemium model offers free access to core features, enhancing its accessibility. By providing free language education, the brand is actively embodying its purpose.
Brand purpose statement: To empower companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way.
Salesforce has built a strong community of users known as Trailblazers, fostering collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and innovation that contributes to the overall growth of the brand’s ecosystem.
Brand purpose statement: To reimagine medicine to improve and extend people’s lives.
Novartis is known for its commitment to innovation in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry and its support of research and development to discover and develop new medicines, therapies, and healthcare solutions.
Brand purpose statement: To offer all women and men worldwide the best of cosmetics innovation in terms of quality, efficacy, and safety.
L'Oréal regularly conducts market research to meet the needs of its customers, listening to their feedback and adapting its products to changing consumer preferences.
Brand purpose statement: To connect people and possibilities through our worldwide shipping, transportation, e-commerce, and business services portfolio.
FedEx has been at the forefront of innovation in logistics and technology. The brand invests in cutting-edge systems, automation, and digital tools to enhance efficiency, tracking capabilities, and overall customer experience.
Brand purpose statement: To use its optical technologies to make a contribution to global culture and welfare.
Canon’s contributions to environmental conservation, community development, and education result in its global impact and align with its brand purpose.
Brand purpose statement: To serve society with superior engineering.
Siemens is a significant player in the healthcare industry, offering advanced medical imaging, diagnostics, and laboratory diagnostics solutions. The brand's commitment to healthcare aligns with its brand purpose to serve society through technological innovation.
Brand purpose statement: To inspire confidence and empower change.
Consumers recognize KPMG for its thought leadership and industry insights. The brand regularly publishes research reports, surveys, and thought leadership pieces, contributing to its authority on business trends and issues.
Finding Your Brand Purpose
You’ve seen what makes up a strong brand purpose and read through some examples of brand purpose statements that have stood the test of time. Now it’s time to create your own!
Start by identifying your “why,” then use Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle template as a jumping-off point to start writing out your brand purpose statement. Don't forget, you can also use analytics for social media reputation management.
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