Why the Best Brand Strategy Isn’t About Your Brand

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Is your brand strategy working as hard as it could be? Or is it being held back by these all-too-common corporate traits: myopia, narrow-mindedness, and self-centeredness? Does your brand strategy focus only on the “what” and “how” of your offering? Does it mostly talk to senior management in the cryptic language only MBAs understand?

If so, your brand isn’t hitting the right notes in today’s marketplace. Today’s most innovative and successful brands are built upon a different premise. They seek to forge meaningful connections with people, not solely through products or marketing claims, but through the added idea of purpose-beyond-profit. As such, they build their brand strategies out from the greater world in which they operate, not from the deep, dark corners of the C-suite.

Meaningful brands don’t make claims, they keep promises.

Meaningful brands promise to contribute to the individual and collective well-being on a personal, social, and/or environmental level. By setting a bold and ambitious “North Star” for their enterprises, these brands shift their emphasis across their product development, production, service, and promotion. As they transform how they reach out to people, they transform their fortunes.

This is because customers are seeking to create more meaning in their lives. They prefer to deal with companies that aim to make the world a better place, as they make their profits. They gravitate toward meaningful brands, even when that means giving up brands they’ve used for years. They become more involved with, and committed to, the meaningful brands they choose to align with, and this leads to broader, longer-enduring and more profitable relationships with customers.

At the same time, brands built around the meaningful outcomes they create, attract the most desirable employees, engage employees on new and powerful levels, keep great employees longer, and enjoy the benefits of increased collaboration and innovation.

Leading brands now start with purpose

Global Trends recently recapped a number of leading brands that are focused on purpose saying, “Though it feels like the information economy has only just begun, there’s another type of economy emerging. This new economy — the purpose-driven economy — is changing what we do in and with our professional lives.”

Pepsico is focusing on “Performance with a purpose,” building on three pillars: 1. Human sustainability which means providing a wide range of foods and beverages, from treats to healthy eats; 2. Environmental sustainability which means finding innovative ways to cut costs and minimize impact on the environment through energy and water conservation as well as reduced use of packaging materials; 3. Talent sustainability which means providing a safe and inclusive workplace globally and respecting, supporting, and investing in the local communities where Pepsico operates.

Deloitte has made it a priority to embrace a culture of purpose, realizing that successful companies must be “keenly aware of the purpose they fulfill for clients, employees, community, and other groups.” They have integrated these goals into their business’s core activity.

Google has invested in creating an exceptional work environment that reflects its vision, with themed workspaces, slides between floors, free gourmet food, and radical amounts of employee autonomy.

Zappos is innovating around ways to “deliver happiness” — their mission — through untraditional benefits like surprising 80% of customers with free overnight shipping.

IDEO has created IDEO.org to solve poverty related challenges by offering their talented designers to communities who need them the most.

The best brand strategies are driven by purpose

Brands become meaningful when they are driven by a purpose-beyond-profit. They rise above the increasingly meaningless world of features, benefits and vapid competitive claims. They don’t forgo their profit objectives and strategies, but they do align them to their greater purpose. And while customers will still only buy the products and services they want or need, they are increasingly drawn to specific offerings because of what they know and believe about the brand behind the product.

As a leader, its only natural to be absorbed in your immediate situation, and to see the world from a unique perspective. Mindful leaders learn how to step outside the bubble they tend to inhabit, and to see more of what matters in today’s marketplace. Once they do, they see a new world of possibilities for future success.

For more information, please download our white paper on Purpose Beyond Profit.

Emotive Brand is a brand strategy firm.

Originally published at blog.emotivebrand.com.

Emotive Brand is a strategy and design firm: We work with executives to drive growth in revenue, brand, and culture #b2b #tech #b2c #product #growth #branding

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