Brand Purpose: How to Find Your Vibe

Feel the VIBE for Brand Purpose

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You’ve read about brand purpose. You agree it makes sense for your organization to articulate why it exists and why it matters. But how do you get to purpose? How can you reduce the idea of your purpose into one simple sentence that holds a landscape of meaning?  One that gets to the heart and soul of the company? 

First, you have to have internal agreement on the meeting of minds and needs between your company and your customer. What is it that they need, that you do or make? What is the fundamental human value that you satisfy? Is it happiness? Discovery? Connection? Pride? Or innovation? Once you agree to the fundamental human value that you share with your customer, you can begin to approach the idea of purpose. 

Here are 4 tips to help you create a strong, enduring brand purpose. We call them the brand purpose VIBE, being that we’re a Southern California company, LA to be exact, and so…yeah…right? 

V stands for visionary V

We’re not suggesting you come up with a statement of earth-shattering profundity.  It doesn’t have to be grandiose. (Sorry. Your SAAS software isn’t going to change the course of history. Unless it does.) It should speak to something bigger than a particular product. If Apple’s purpose was simply to make the world’s best computers, then they might never have fully embraced the opportunity for the iPod or iPhone. Instead, they were trying to enable creative exploration and self-expression, so they were able to think in terms of outcomes instead of devices. Apple was interested in disruption, to put a dent in the universe with their products. They wanted to help people do what they already loved to do better – or help them find new loves using the newly find capabilities enabled by their products.

Your company’s purpose is what the product or service enables, allows or creates. Look past the product, to the horizon way beyond. If everything goes swimmingly, how will your product or service change the world for the better, and save or advance civilization? Be visionary. And visionaries can’t share a vision if they can’t express it. No one  adopts a vision they don’t understand. Give your vision statement the Grandpa Test. Something they’d look at and say “I get it.” No tech words. No industry jargon. Unless your Grandpa is Bill Gates, at which point you can increase the syllable count. 


I stands for Inclusive

We touched on this recently when we discussed “Consensus Branding” Your brand purpose should be developed by a group of employees that is representative of your company. Every department should have a hand in its creation. The C-level team should all participate – no exceptions. That way, everyone has a stake in the brand purpose being adopted. It doesn’t come out of left field.  When people have had a hand in the authorship, they tend to want to sell the book.

And while having your team develop the purpose is essential – it’s not sufficient. Purpose should include insight that your customers offer. It should be clearly aligned with what your customers need, and they should recognize exactly why your purpose is relevant to them. The customer’s insight and feedback prevents you from having a kumbaya echo chamber in your company. If it doesn’t resonate with them, it’s not a purpose that they’re going to adopt. That’s no good for business.

B stands for Brief

To be true to this part of VIBE, keep your purpose statement to no more than 7-10 words. The longer you go on the more  tangible the evidence you don’t have a compelling purpose. It only reveals that you’re mostly shuffling your feet trying to explain why you were going 25 in the passing lane. Sacrifice. Omit. Keep it open. Let the interpretation live.  If your purpose statement includes everything, it will mean nothing. It has to be easy to remember, and it has to inspire the team to expand on what it means to them. Google started with a purpose about immediately satisfying every curiosity. So product developers can bear that in mind when creating new features and offerings. If it helps satisfy curiosity, it’s a good idea. If it doesn’t, the feature probably doesn’t sit near the top of the priority list. 

Brevity has the benefit of being easy to share. No one is repeating that 300 word mission statement, or posting it on social media. (If they are, no one’s reading it!) Purpose gains momentum and staying power when it’s widely shared – by your team and your customers. You remember it, you share it, you internalize it. 


E stands for Emotional

Like in, “Oh! Here we are! At the End! Excellent!”  

If purpose is the foundation of your brand, then emotion is the foundation of purpose. Your purpose should focus on the emotional value your organization delivers. Facebook is about connection. Giving people a way to share what’s important to them with the people important to them. Yes, it’s software, and part of the metaverse, but those platforms are just vehicles that satisfy people’s need to connect with others. Getting the all-important likes and positive comments is what drives people to use their products. 

Of course, these days, you could say Facebook is about torching connections, but that’s another blog. 

Your brand purpose should answer the question “How do you want your customers to feel?” And before you say, “Yeah, that’s easy for consumer brands, but it doesn’t work for B2B,” I can tell you we’ve done it for integration, accounting, electrical contractors and not-for-profit organizations. But at every business you sell to, there is somebody who is responsible for representing the needs of the company. And that person makes decisions no different than every customer that has ever existed since the day Ork came to Ark’s cave to sell him some mammoth meat, and found out Ark was a vegan. We have no idea when the idea arose that somehow, B2B meant entire companies communicate 100% rationally with other entire companies.  They don’t. It’s a human salesperson to a human customer. They cry for their children too.

Remember it: V-I-B-E!

 It took a while for us to reduce our pillars of purpose to a word that was appropriate to the Southern California ethos.  

And reducing your whole purpose to a 7-10 word vision of the future, makes for some pretty cool T-Shirts. And we know a lot about those too. 

Purpose is a starting point – not the end game. Everything your company does – every piece of content you create, every product you develop, every policy your HR team establishes, should somehow track back to this foundational idea. We wish we could promise you it will be easy (well, with us, it is a lot easier and a hell of a lot of fun) but boiling your company’s gestalt down to 7-10 words isn’t. We wish we could promise you it would solve all your problems. It won’t.  

But we can promise you a strong brand purpose will make people want to work for and do business with you, and they will develop an AFFINITY for your organization. Which makes purpose hugely profitable. Those are some good vibes.

What are your tips for creating brand purpose? Tell us in the comments.

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