The pandemic has led people to question their priorities, causing the need for readjustment for many brands. People want something more from them, a more genuine relationship that leads them to recognize their impact beyond the business itself.

The concept of purpose, which has existed for years, has become a fundamental pillar in the conception of any business, and of brands as responsible for connecting the business with people.

Brand purpose refers to why it exists, its raison d’être. This is deep and strategic. Some, such as Patagonia or Tom Shoes, were born with a genuine purpose based on social responsibility and ethics. But many others are at the crossroads of discovering what their purpose can be, their most tangible contribution to society.

Companies with a purpose at their core are those that truly focus on improving people’s lives and well-being, in its broadest sense. This drives the growth of the brand and the business, while also contributing to its impact and footprint in the world.

In 2020, all brands have been challenged in their contributions to society. Some have tried to respond with messages of support for the moment, but consumers are looking beyond what is said and want actions more than words. No brand can solve all of the world’s challenges, but the precious commodity of trust is built by addressing and applying purpose in a coherent, honest, and inclusive way.

To find purpose, trying to understand what causes are moving the world is a first step. We can start with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but let’s think that within each major cause there are other smaller ones that can help you size them into achievable and credible goals for your company.

To make purpose tangible effectively, it is necessary to change the way in which many brands are approaching the concept of purpose itself, moving from the well-known WHY to a HOW much more linked to action: “HOW can we help?”.

It is worth considering that talking about sustainability is not exclusive to ecosystems, recycling, climate or energy. The purpose objectives of companies can be approached from a vision closely linked to people, which expands the traditional conception of sustainability and makes it immediately tangible. This is a Brand Led Wellness approach, that is, brands oriented to the state of wellness, which can be approached from 4 angles: a physical perspective, a mental approach; a social and relational configuration; and also from a perspective of care and contribution to the environment.

Physical Perspective

With a strong focus on people’s health, promoting active lifestyles and good nutrition, safety at work…

Mental Perspective

Promoting harmony and emotional balance of people, equality, education…

Social Perspective

The isolation caused by confinement leads to the need for people to resume their connections with family and friends, to socialize and feel part of the community.

Sustainability Perspective

Becoming aware of the climate crisis, the impact of business on ecosystems, and making a positive contribution to the environment.

Well-being makes the purpose tangible in an obvious way.

The concept of well-being in its broadest sense thus quickly becomes a new look at purpose, but we must not forget that it is not a marketing tool or a marketable concept. It should be authentic, clear, achievable, and measurable.

To achieve this, we have to start from values. Values are the foundation of what an organization believes and derive in the behaviors it agrees to adopt, forming a set of shared beliefs. While purpose responds to why an organization exists, values answer the question of how they arrive at their destination, which connects them directly to the tangibilization of purpose.

Values guide employees on how they are expected to do their jobs and interact with their colleagues, customers, and partners. They create a culture of their own across the organization and set expectations for how the organization promises to engage with stakeholders.

The way the organization behaves has a much more important role in conveying values than any of the visual elements associated with the business.

The goal of brand behavior is twofold: to make customers more satisfied and loyal, while creating an aligned, ambitious, and meaningful workplace that behaves in line with its purpose.

Organizations must consider what behaviors will reflect the organization’s culture, which is why choosing one’s own values is critical. Values must be authentic and ambitious, and they must be oriented toward what the organization has committed to be through its purpose. When values align with purpose, the speed at which results are achieved accelerates.

With all this, integrating purpose is a matter of action. And to take action, you have to understand what business is made of.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó
CEO of Branward