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Wouldn’t it be good if we could go back in time on brand purpose?

Certainly to before 2017, when having a brand purpose for many became synonymous with having a social purpose.

Or before 2012, when Jim Stengel defined an organisation’s purpose as “a business’s essential reason for being, the higher-order benefit it brings to the world”.

Or before 2004 when Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty first appeared, with its mission “to help women to escape the oppression of the beauty industry by finding their own beauty”.

Possibly even before 1971 when Coca Cola launched its ‘Hilltop’ TV ad.

Maybe then we could get right back to the start.

What is the purpose of a brand?

Purpose. The reason for which something is done or created or for which it exists.

Why does your brand exist?

To help sell something, of course.

Not just once, that’s easy. Halve the price.

No, having a brand is a strategy. And strategies take time to work.

A brand is also an experience. 4 P’s, they all matter.

But first and foremost a brand is a promise. A promise to do something for people. Something they need or want.

And something they value, because that’s how they decide if your brand’s worth the money.

It could be functional. What they get. But functional benefits get copied pretty quick. Look at all the brands trying to win on immediacy.

Or it could be emotional. How they feel. Or look. That isn’t easy either. Look at all the brands saying they can make you feel more connected.

So best is functional and emotional. Both.

Of course, this all happens in a flash, in front of a shelf or scrolling down Google. A brand isn’t a lifetime of devotion, it’s a moment of closeness. When what people do and why they do it coincides with how your brand stands out and what it stands for.

What it stands for.

Why it exists.

Its purpose.

Our purpose is to do this for you, which we hope you’ll appreciate.

Yes, but it’s too late, isn’t it? The ‘purpose’ horse has well and truly bolted.

Just like ‘insight’ before it.

And ‘strategy’.

And ‘creative’.

‘Meaning’ will be next. Soon that won’t mean a thing.

It’s like we break everything on purpose.


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