The Articulation of Purpose
Too often, brands lose track of why they exist and how to effectively engage consumers in a way that leaves no misconception of what it represents. As we push technological boundaries to new places, we should understand the possibilities of making consumer aware of the “purpose” of the brand.
Let’s be honest, if you walk around your office and ask everyone to articulate what the brand stands for, you would be hard pressed to get a consistent answer. Most would point to an ad, logo or product description. It is critical to comprehend that understanding one’s “purpose” and articulating that purpose at every point of interaction is essential to a brand’s success both among internal employees and your intended target.
A few months ago, a company approached our firm and asked us to discuss developing a “new” brand story and logo in a constricted period of time. This, unfortunately, is the norm not an exception. What’s wrong with this request?
1) A New Brand Story: There is nothing wrong with enhancing your brand story but in order to do that, you must understand where your brand lives today. Additionally, we need to be able to articulate your purpose. Why does your company exist? What emotional need and/or desire are you fulfilling? How are you disrupting the marketplace from an emotionally driven benefit perspective?
2) It’s More Than a Logo: A logo is only one way of articulating your brand essence. From a design perspective we tie fonts, colors, icons, etc. to the prescribed brand persona. This is the beginning, and there is still much more to be done. Some things to consider include:
– Brick and Mortar: What is the experience that ties to our purpose? Interior design? Customer service interaction? Flow of the space? Materials used? Type of music playing in the background?
– Digital Interaction: Do we have the ability to provide a live chat? How are you scripted to deal with FAQs? Should we integrate Voice-First/AI technology into the brand experience? How does digital/mobile interaction demonstrate our purpose?
– Product Development: Does this product fit into our “Purpose DNA”? Is it marginally better than what exists or is it a game changer? Have we taken a consumer-first approach to the actual design both from a usability and an aesthetic perspective?
– Purpose-Driven: Does our purpose deliver on our target’s expectations or does it exceed those expectations on an emotional level?
3) It’s fair to develop a schedule to accomplish taking a brand through a rigorous innovation process, BUT articulating your purpose is not a finite deliverable. It is an ongoing process, and therefore why it’s called brand innovation. Your purpose will constantly be experienced at every interaction, and these interactions tend to change. Delivery mechanism gets old; new ones are developed. You must be brave enough to embrace those changes.
We’ve seen progress in regards to brands trying to articulate their look and feel, however, and more importantly, there is a need to clearly articulate your purpose everyday and everywhere.