The path to Brand Purpose.

People’s interest in exploring their Purpose has increased dramatically in the 10 years since I created my first program designed to help people ‘discover’ the Purpose of their work/brand, and to weave it into an Authentic Business Story.

When I first studying marketing in the 1980’s the main focus for brand development was on uniqueness. It was all about being different from your competitors, no matter what it took. If that meant making claims you couldn’t really support, that was fine – as long as you created a powerful brand image.

But then things changed. By the early 2000s, customers had wised up – they had been exposed to so much marketing and advertising hype, they could no longer be so easily fooled. They were starting to demand ‘genuine’ over ‘image.’ The dye was cast and they would never turn back.

The Birth of Purpose

And then another phenomenon happened – people’s interest in Purpose started to blossom. And as they started to search for their own meaning, and to reflect on their beliefs and values (the foundation of Purpose), they wanted to understand if the companies they bought from aligned with their own beliefs and values. Today people want to buy brands that reflect who they were and what they believe in. As a brand owner, you need to share your brand Purpose and values in order to attract prospects who align with those values.

These are the people who will be:
– Easier to engage with and convert to customers
– More loyal to your brand, and
– More likely to recommend you to their friends, family and colleagues

The Path to Brand Purpose.

So as a brand owner or start up, how do you define your brand Purpose and align it with your offer and communications?

The infographic above sets out my recommended process. As you’ll see, it’s all about building your brand from the inside out, as opposed to the old approach of looking at the market and pitching your brand where the competitive gaps are.

Start with You.

In the new process, you start by defining who you are as a brand, then establishing why your brand exists (Purpose). These two steps are crucial, because this is the foundation for your authenticity. This is what gives you that ‘genuine’ appeal that customers are looking for.


The next step is to define your mission – what you are here to do for your customers, and the problem(s) your brand was created to solve for them. This answers the all important WIFM question that all customers ask – ‘What’s In It For Me?’ This leads neatly into determining the mindset and make up of the customers (your Tribe) who have the problems you have identified and who align with your brand identity and Purpose.

Where will you go?

Now it’s time to set your intention –  to define the future and direction of your brand – supported by and aligned with your Purpose, mission and the tribe you serve. The old way of doing was to start the whole process with this exercise (as I learned to do working for my first FMCG company) – but in today’s world it doesn’t work. That’s because without first understanding your identity, Purpose, mission and the tribe you are here to serve, it is void of authenticity. It is just a ‘hope and a prayer.’

Making Your Promise, getting clear and committing.

The next step involve creating your brand promise – a statement of intent to make a difference to the lives of your people and customers. This includes your Purpose and mission and what makes you naturally unique.

The final two steps are often overlooked. The clarity step is about clearing your (and your team’s) mental blocks to overcome the ‘Imposter’ that threatens to undermine your confidence and determination to deliver on your promise to your customers. The final step is to commit to your journey and to ensure all your actions align with and support the promise you have made to your customers.

If you’d like our help to guide you on your Brand Purpose journey, please get in touch. 

Justin Cooper is the founder of Brand Purpose .Co, which helps employees, business owners and business leaders to define their Purpose and leverage it through their work, business or brand in a way that inspires, unites and connects the people they work with.