What Is the Purpose of Your Brand?

What Is the Purpose of Your Brand?

Many consumers recognize and care about the ways their purchase decisions impact society. This leads them to choose brands that align with their values like supporting sustainability, donating to worthy charities, or advocating for social issues. That’s where the power of a strong brand purpose comes into play. The purpose of your brand is to make both the customer and employee experience more meaningful. It builds emotional connections to your brand, and as a result, becomes a powerful differentiator.

Brand purpose is not to be confused with brand promise. Your brand promise gives consumers a reason to believe your products and services will deliver them meaningful benefits. Brand purpose operates at a higher level. It’s the reason why your brand exists above and beyond making a profit. Your purpose speaks to the difference your brand makes in the world at large and permeates all the actions your company takes. That includes your employee experience, business practices, contributions to society, consumer-facing communications, and most importantly your customer experience.

Interest in the concept of brand purpose isn’t new. However, its importance has been amplified due to the global pandemic. Just consider the many companies who quickly retooled operations to produce much-needed items. Apparel companies like H&M and Nordstrom produced face masks. Liquor brands like Brown-Forman and Bacardi created hand sanitizers for first responders and healthcare workers. Efforts like these are particularly meaningful to Gen Zs and Millennials who expect brands to align with their personal values. That said, other generations are also drawn to brands that stand for something more than making money. Here are some ways marketing research can help you harness the power of your purpose-driven brand.

4 Ways Marketing Research Helps You Strengthen Your Brand Purpose

Brand Positioning Research

Brand Tracking Research

Customer Experience Research

Employee Experience Research

1.  Brand Positioning Studies – Define and Refine Your Brand Purpose

Brand positioning research is a valuable way to help you define and refine your brand purpose. It’s critical that your purpose resonates with your target audience on an emotional level. It needs to reflect their values and demonstrate the contribution your brand makes to the greater good. Gathering feedback on your brand purpose in positioning research uncovers the deep-seated emotional associations it evokes in your target audience. Specific research goals include:

  • Assessing the authenticity of your brand purpose
  • Exploring ways it enhances customer experiences
  • Evaluating its ability to differentiate your brand from competitors

It’s also important to assess ways your brand purpose may need to evolve. Societal issues or events can have a significant impact on the relevance of your purpose over time.

Consumers are 4x more likely to purchase from a brand they believe has a strong purpose.”

2020 Zeno Group Strength of Purpose Study

2.  Brand Tracking – Monitor Impact of Brand Purpose on Brand Perceptions

In addition to being relevant and meaningful, your purpose should have a measurable impact on key brand metrics. Brand tracking research is an effective way to assess the influence of your brand purpose on factors like awareness, perceptions, attitudes, and familiarity. This can also be particularly effective when assessing specific efforts to reinforce your purpose in marketing communications.

3.  Customer Experience – Assess the Influence of Your Brand Purpose on Behavior

Once you’ve defined and demonstrated your brand purpose, it’s extremely valuable to measure its influence on customer behavior. Consider weaving components of your brand purpose into your CX measurement. Besides being an effective way to monitor familiarity with your purpose, CX research can assess its relevance to your target audience. It can also pinpoint areas that may need attention to help drive consideration, purchase, and likelihood to recommend your brand. If you happen to include measurement of your brand promise in CX research, it’s important to make sure the attributes of each are clearly differentiated. That way you’ll gain a clear understanding of the specific connections these branding elements are making with your target audience.

“Brands recognized as having a meaningful purpose outperform the stock market by 134%.”

Havas Global’s Meaningful Brands 2019

4.  Employee Experience – Ensure Your Brand Purpose is Embraced by Employees

More and more companies are recognizing the critical role that the employee experience plays in delivering positive customer experiences. That’s true whether an employee has front line contact with customers or indirectly impacts their experiences. When employees embrace your brand purpose it gives them the sense that their work has greater value beyond a paycheck. Ideally, it helps deepen employees’ commitment to the success of the company and their desire to stay with it.  Plus, companies with an authentic brand purpose are more likely to attract desirable job candidates. Monitoring awareness and perceptions of it in employee experience research helps identify ways to reinforce and further embed it across your company culture.

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Which is more important, assessing the impact of your brand purpose on customer experience or employee experience?

The short answer is both. The long answer is that there are deep and often subtle connections between your customer and employee experiences. A disconnect with your brand purpose among customers will likely impact attitudes among employees and vice versa. That’s why assessing its impact across both, whenever possible, will help you uncover less obvious connections between the two. When you gain an understanding of that holistic story, you’ll be better able to identify improvement opportunities overall.

Purpose-Driven Brands Build Lasting Bonds

A clearly defined and consistently communicated brand purpose helps drive the strategic direction of a company. The key to unlocking its power is to ensure it closely aligns with the core values of your target audience and employees. Marketing research can help you assess the impact it is having on their experiences. That knowledge will help you strengthen bonds, deepen loyalty, and make a meaningful difference in the lives of your customers and employees. Ensuring your brand purpose is firmly established in their minds lays a foundation for lasting growth.

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