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Find Your Brand’s North Star and Stand Out

Find Your Brand’s North Star and Stand Out

To stand out in a highly competitive and commoditised marketplace brands need to make clear what they stand for.

The pandemic has highlighted that people want to connect with something that stands for more than just profit; they want brands to be purpose-driven and mission-focused.

Building a brand on a purpose provides a North Star for strategic direction and positioning in the marketplace, helps customers understand what a business stands for, helps employees answer the question ‘why am I here?’ and, according to Simon Griffiths, co-founder of online toilet paper business Who Gives a Crap, it provides an anchor when times get tough.

What I’ve come to know as a professional communicator for more than three decades is that brands can achieve a deeper level of connection with their target audiences when they communicate and act from a place of purpose rather than product.

When brands make clear the difference they seek to make in the world beyond selling a product or service, they become a brand that stands up and stands out.

Research confirms that purpose is good for business. A global survey of business executives conducted in 2015 by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and EY Beacon Institute found that companies that clearly identified their purpose as ‘an aspirational reason for being which inspires and provides a call to action for an organisation and its partners and stakeholders, and provides benefit to local and global society[i] enjoyed higher growth rates and higher levels of success in transformation and innovation initiatives. They also reported that their customers were more loyal and their employees more engaged.

While businesses have a purpose to make profits and deliver on their promise to customers, business leaders have an opportunity to embrace the power of a higher planetary purpose as a way of connecting more deeply with customers, driving greater organisational performance and shaping reputation.

A powerful way for businesses to express purpose is through vision and mission statements that express the difference they seek to make in the lives of those whom they serve or the world more generally as a result of the work they do every day.

A key question to answer when crafting a vision statement is ‘what is the positive ripple effect of the work we do? For our staff and their families? For the families of our clients? For the communities in which we live? For society at large? And then create a vivid picture in your mind’s eye about what this actually looks and feels like.

Some examples of aspirational vision statements are:

  • Dove – A world where beauty is source of confidence, not anxiety
  • Facebook – To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected
  • City of Melbourne – a bold, inspirational and sustainable city

A key question to answer when crafting a mission statement is ‘what is it that we do exceptionally well every day that will lead us towards bringing our vision to fruition?’

Some examples of inspirational mission statements are:

  • Starbucks – To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time
  • Tesla To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy
  • The Body Shop® –as part of our Enrich Not Exploit™ initiative, we’ve made it our mission to enrich our products, our people and our planet

While vision and mission statements can appear dry and disjointed as stand-alone statements, a good way to bring them to life is through a manifesto; a public declaration of your aims, beliefs and principles. A manifesto, well crafted, can give greater meaning to vision, mission and core values, and become a motivational force for achieving them.

© Ros Weadman 2021

Ros Weadman is the founder of Marcomms Australia and author of Brandcode® and The Reputation Equation.  Connect with Ros on LinkedIn or via www.rosweadman.com.

[i] Harvard Business Review, The Business Case for Purpose, EY Beacon Institute, 2015, http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-the-business-case-for-purpose/$FILE/ey-the-business-case-for-purpose.pdf>.  





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