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THE BRANDING LAB PODCAST
What Brand Purpose Really Means & Why It Matters
By Yvonne Ivanescu
Did you know that a brand is not a logo? According to this week’s guest, Melissa Packham, branding begins with strategy and not design. In fact, branding is the creation of the story you are trying to tell and marketing is the telling of that story. So before you can tell a story, you need to know what it is.
Do you know your brand story?
Melissa Packham is an independent brand and marketing strategist based in Brisbane, Australia. Melissa founded A Brand Is Not A Logo to help entrepreneurs find clarity in strategy that empowers & sees them grow. With 15+ years of experience managing household name brands, her vision is a world where brands are a force for good with thoughtful foundations & meaningful strategy to guide them.
In this episode, Melissa and I talk about finding your brand purpose; understanding how your values connect with that purpose; and discussing brand authenticity, highlighting that you should practice what you preach.
BRAND FOUNDATIONS 📚📌
At the most basic level, if you have nothing else, but you are starting out there are a couple of things that you need to be clear on:
▶ brand purpose: what you here to do and who are you here to help
▶ brand values: what does your brand hold near and dear
▶ beliefs: your core beliefs are about the world and the category you are planing it
▶ brand personality: think about your brand as a person, how do you define that person?
▶ tone of voice: how does that person talk?
Those are the core five — if you have nothing else then, that is a really story starting off point. With these five foundations in place, all other decisions become a lot clear, for example, what channels do I communicate on or what message am I trying to share?
Remember that building a brand is an on-going process, so what you’ve defined at the beginning might change completely once you’ve launched — and that’s ok. Give it time and space. You can launch before having all the pieces put together because once you launch, you can get feedback from the market.
Go out and learn and be the brand so that then you can define what it is.
The challenge with brand foundations is that they are an internal piece of work that guides you strategically. They inform everything that you do but they are not a consumer-facing piece of work. Most of the time a consumer will never see it.
So your brand purpose is for your brand and your employees and it drives how you want to create your products and how you want to function as a business. You can communicate it to your customers but they don’t care what you are here to do, they only care about how you are solving their problems. It is fluff that they don’t need. So above all else, brand purpose is important for the internal team to allign with what you the brand is planning on doing.
BRAND PURPOSE 🎤📕
How do you figure out your brand purpose? There is a reason why you are launching this brand in the first place into the world, what is that? Usually it is to solve a certin problem, what is that problem? What does it mean for that customer not to have that problem solved for them? Or what are they solving that problem with now that you can do better or do differently.
It’s usually has to do with something different or better, or reaching a new audience. All of those problems are usually where you find the crux of your purpose.
It could be a higher order of purpose, to change lives to create a better world and all of those are great but they need to be grounded in something concrete that your brand can deliver too. It has to be realistic, we al want to change the world but it should be realistic. Don’t get too lofty with your purpose as well – you don’t have to go too crazy.
It can be a higher order of purpose — to change lives or to create a better world — and that’s great, but it also needs to be grounded in something concrete that your brand can deliver. It has to be realistic. Don’t get too lofty with your purpose.
In fact, small things that you do to solve people’s problems can be life changing. So don’t feel like your brand needs to be Superman, saving everyone. It can also create small meaning changes.
To define your purpose think of your brand as a person, what is the reason it gets out of bed every morning? What drives it?
Let’s look at the example of Disney. The brand essence is magical and from that the brand purpose is to create magical experiences. The TV channel, movies, spaces and the theme parks — everything links back to “we are here to create magical experiences.”
Getting to a simple brand purpose is very hard to do, that is the work comes into it. Where you need to hone and refine the words so that every word has a reason to be there. For Disney, their brand purpose is to “create magical experiences” — there is a reason all the words at there.
BRAND VALUES 📡📖
If you are running a brand that does not allign with some of your core values as an individual than it will not be motivating. You are not going to put the energy in it and there will be a misalignment.
Start with writing down your own personal values. Use single words. Values are single words. You don’t need to go broader than that. What do you value the most in the world and in your life. That can be an eye-opening experience.
In the end, branding is all connected. Brand personality looks at: who is the brand as a person, what other personality traits that they display. If you think of personality traits as adjectives to describe the person than the values are the nouns — the things that you hold dear and that guide you brand.
If we look at Disney again, one of their core values is family, but a personality trait can be approachable, friendly or accessible.
MINI-EXERCISE: Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down ten values. Once you are finished put them in order from your #1 – #10, number one being the most important value and ten being the least important value. Do this for both yourself and your brand.
There is no one formula in branding, there is no one way of doing it.
No matter how you create your purpose and your values, it’s important to remember to never fake your purpose. Authenticity in your brand purpose is critical and you should practice what you preach.
And this is why brand strategy is paramount, it isn’t just words on a page. It is a guiding light for how you brand activates itself in the world. And if your purpose is to be an ethical swimwear brand, and your suppliers are not paying your workers correcntly, or the materials you are sourcing are not ethical, well that’s not authentic. You are not living up to your brand purpose and values.
Now ore than every there is an increase and demand for transparency around this and individuals want proof that brands have sustainable, ethical or environmental credentials. You can’t fake it anymore.
Brands have a choice. You can choose who you do business with, you can choose how you distribute and how it gets managed. Also make sure that there is authenticity in your brand messaging.