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We all know that competition is fierce these days. If you want to capture the attention of your dream clients, it’s gonna take more than just telling them WHAT you do.
Connect with people on an emotional level and they’ll stop scrolling and pay attention:
“This person really gets me.”
“I’m confident this is someone I can trust to help me solve my problem.”
“I like what this person stands for and that matters to me.”
It’s that feeling they get when they arrive at the conclusion that you’re the best choice, there can be no substitute.
How can you help them to arrive at this conclusion? Strategic, purposeful branding.
A strong brand that attracts the right people to you starts with strategy, and that starts with:
Knowing Your Purpose
Simon Sinek famously said,
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
But that sounds so woo-woo, right?
When you’re a tiny business–not a global brand like Apple–it doesn’t seem necessary to sit down and create a vision or purpose statement, there’s so much to do and who has that kind of time?
But here’s why you should: when you’re clear about your purpose, it becomes a guiding force for all of your business and branding decisions…
>The people you’ll work with and those you won’t
>>The services you’ll offer and the ones you’ll nix
>>The things you’ll say in your marketing messages
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Different Types of Purpose Statements
When asked, “What’s the purpose of your business?” our first thought is usually, “to make money.” (Duh.)
That’s not a wrong answer, but it’s a functional definition. The problem is, when we think about businesses that exist only to pursue profits, we know it often comes at the expense of humanity. Greed. Corruption. Environmental devastation. Business bad guys.
Another way to approach it is to create an intentional definition of purpose.
Some businesses aim to make a profit and do good. Or make money by doing good. When we think about businesses like that, when their values align with our own, we’ll go out of your way to spend outrageous sums of money for espadrilles. 😉
But again, this way of creating purpose and meaning behind your brand can go wrong. Too much of a good thing can lead to business problems and self-righteous proselytizing.
Aim for a healthy balance between the two and you can pursue profits in a way your clients will align with!
Great Examples of Brands with Purpose
It’s helpful to consider examples from some of the world’s most successful brands:
“We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket. We also believe that everyone has the right to see.”
(WHY) Warby Parker came into existence because a single company dominated the eyewear industry and artificially inflated prices. They wanted to provide an alternative. They believe that people shouldn’t be victims of unfair business practices and deserve the dignity of being able to correct their vision without going broke.
(WHAT) They sell stylish glasses.
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
(WHY) Patagonia believes business practices can have a positive impact on the environment.
(WHAT) They sell jackets.
“To connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”
(WHY) Southwest Airlines cares about people and connecting them to what’s important.
(WHAT) They use airplanes to demonstrate how they feel about people.
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (and everybody is an athlete).”
(WHY) Nike wants to empower everyone’s inner athlete.
(WHAT) They sell shoes.
“The Dove Self-Esteem Project was created from a vision where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.”
(WHY) Dove is on a mission to increase the self-esteem of women and to re-define the definition of beauty.
(WHAT) They just happen to sell soap.
(Okay, I’m not a global brand, but it works the same way for tiny businesses too…)
“To empower service-based business owners to brand bravely and attract clients they love.”
(WHY) Endeavor Creative believes tiny businesses can achieve mighty things when they’re brave, and every entrepreneur deserves to work with people they love, do the work they’re meant to be doing, and be rewarded both financially and personally.
(WHAT) Brand design and strategy just happen to be what I sell.
Creating Your Purpose Statement
Defining your reason why–or your purpose statement– is an exercise I do with my clients as part of their Client Attraction Strategy. It’s probably the most important one we do because it provides a strong foundation for the rest of the strategy.
And because so few people ever even take a few moments to give this any thought…
Having a purpose statement that guides you makes all the difference when it comes to creating brand messages that set you apart as something more special and valuable than your competition.
Here are some questions to get you thinking about your purpose if you don’t have a clear picture yet.
IMPORTANT: You do not want to provide answers to all of these, they’re just meant to show you there are different ways you can approach it. If one jumps out as the clear, best choice that speaks to you⸺start there.
And don’t get stuck thinking you need to carve this into stone: you can (and should) fine-tune your purpose statement as you come to understand yourself and your customers better.
PRO TIP: Your purpose statement needs to be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Otherwise, it’s going to be incredibly challenging for your customers to “get it” and very difficult for you to communicate it.
If APPLE (arguably the world’s most successful brand) can boil their purpose down to one short statement ⸺“To empower creative exploration and self-expression”⸺ you. don’t. need. three. paragraphs.
Why did you get into this business in the first place?
What did you see that you wanted to change? What need did you see in the marketplace that you wanted to meet?
How can your company make a difference for your clients?
What is the problem that you want your business to solve? How will your business make things better?
How do you feel about your customers?
Does it matter to you how your service makes your customers feel? What aspect of your relationship with your customers brings you joy?
What’s your impact?
What is the impact you’re making on people’s day-to-day lives?
What change do you and your customers want to see in the world?
Does your brand take a stand on such real-life issues as animal testing, climate change, bullying, gay marriage, gun control, equal pay or some other cause? How will your business make things better?
Are you a game-changer in your industry?
Is there an issue such as quality, pricing, or efficiency that disrupts the status quo of your industry?
Do you have a purpose statement?
Leave it in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it!
Taughnee Stone is an award-winning designer, brand strategist, and location-independent business owner for over 15 years. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now lives in Croatia with her husband, energetic Samoyed, and three bossy cats.