“Why do you do what you do?”– this is probably one of the hardest and most confusing questions I ask my clients…. And I love it! *evil laugh*
You see, all business foundations are built on three levels: (1) WHAT you do, (2) HOW you do it, and (3) WHY you do it. And the “not-so-secret” secret of the most successful brands out there lays in that third question: WHY?
Pretty much everyone knows WHAT they do – what products they sell or what service they provide – and some can answer HOW they do it – how they stand out and what makes them unique – but very few can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do – what is the driving power and purpose behind their brand.
Look at some of the most beloved brands out there: Apple, Starbucks, Nike…. What makes these brands hold a dear place in our hearts (and our pockets)? If you think it’s their product…. You’re wrong. I mean, heeelloooo, who likes overpaying for coffee and leggings here? *crickets*
We love these brands because we connect with them. Because they define who we are. Because we can relate to their Why. It is their purpose that makes us a loyal brand ambassador and allows them to pick up their price tag without worrying about losing customers.
You see, it’s not their products. It’s that intangible connection between you and the brand that makes you purchase from them over and over again…. And pay $80 for gym pants.
It’s not WHAT they do, it’s WHY they do it.
Ok, that quote is quite a statement, I know. But I can personally say that one of the greatest days of my life was February 5th, 2016, when I walked out of my full-time job to pursue my solopreneur career. In fact, back then I had no idea on WHAT exactly I was gonna do and HOW I was gonna make it happen. But I was crystal clear on WHY: I wanted to live a life doing what I love and help others do the same.
Yeah…. fairly basic, you may think.
But back then, without a clear understanding of what exactly I wanted to do, my WHY was driving all my decisions. And although my purpose has evolved over the years, I can still relate to my original statement from back then; I still live a life doing what I freakin’ LOVE, running a business that helps YOU do the same. Pretty cool, huh?
Here are some examples of my favourite brands and their clearly articulated purposes:
Contrary to popular belief, having a clear understanding of your Why isn’t some voodoo marketing chit-chat. In fact, let me put my “nerd hat” on and give you some stats and facts.
In 2015, a team from Harvard Business Review Analytics and EY (meaning, it’s the real deal guys…) published a research titled The Business Case for Purpose, where they shared that ‘companies who clearly articulate their purpose enjoy higher growth rate and higher levels of success’. In fact, from their research, the 58% of the companies that understood their purpose and clearly conveyed it to their customers, experienced a +10% growth versus those who didn’t prioritise their purpose. KAAA-CHING!
But it’s not all about money. In fact, purpose has nothing to do with money.
The main reason why your brand purpose is so important and powerful is because it creates a deep connection with your customers that no other brand can replicate. It truly gives you a competitive advantage that is unique to your business.
Chances are, there are plenty of people out there who can do what you do. Heck, they might even do it better than you. They might do it at a lesser cost and make their customers pay more. But nobody can replicate what they cannot see.
And finally, the most important reason for having a clear brand loyalty is because it inspires loyalty and encourages your customer to trust you, support you, and even sometimes forgive you for your mistakes and weaknesses. And that’s gold!
So the question now is… How do you find your unique brand purpose?
There are soooooo many brands out there competing for attention. Back in 2007, folks from Yankelovich Inc. estimated that the average person sees about 5,000 ads per day. That’s in 2007, friends. This number definitely doubled in the last decade! So how do you build a brand whose purpose cuts through the noise and resonates with your ideal client?
Here are 5 powerful questions that will help you find your Why and define your brand purpose.
Be completely honest with yourself. The Body Shop’s Founder, Anita Roddick, opened the first Body Shop in 1976 with the aim to make money to support her daughters while her husband was away. But it grew into something soooo much bigger.
So dig deep into your own reasons for starting a business. Is it to support your family financially? Is to keep you occupied? Is it to share with the world your amazing talent for handmade crafts? Whatever it is – be honest (no one is looking!)
Think about the problem that you wanted your business to solve? How would your product or service bring value to this world and help ease your customer’s pain?
Think about what your ideal customer values in this world and what changes your audience wants to see. What are some of the issues they see as important in the world? How can you relate to their values, their worries and their beliefs?
What is unique about your offering? How different are you to other businesses in your industry? What are the things that you are reaaaally good at that others can’t replicate as well? What are some of your stronger characteristics that define you are as a person and how can you model this into your brand?
Imagine a customer bought and used your product/service, he’s having dinner with his friends and shares his experience with the rest of the group. What does he say? What adjectives does he use? What emotions and feelings are triggered when he remembers his experience?
Operating a business from within, from a place of WHY rather than WHAT, isn’t a given. That’s why the majority of brands out there still hasn’t figured it out. But you have the opportunity (and after reading this, the advantage, I must say) to make it right. Take the time to define your WHY and figure out how to clearly articulate your purpose to your audience.
But remember, your brand purpose isn’t just for your customers. It’s incredibly important to never lose sight of your WHY as it’s a powerful driver for your business’ growth and future decisions.
Feeling brave? Share your brand purpose in the comments below and I’d be super honoured to share my thoughts on it!