Words by: Si Ellis, Founder
Purpose is the reason your brand exists. It is an inspiration. An idea. A belief. A commitment. Purpose is permanent. It’s not likely to change during the lifetime of your brand, and because of that it should be the datum from which all brand decisions are measured against. Purpose is the nuclear reaction spreading energy and motivation throughout your Brand Planet.
A lot is talked about Purpose these days, which is a good thing. Purpose-led brands do better financially and in terms of staff wellbeing.
More established and complex organisations will often look inward to understand their Purpose, when it’s actually far better to look outward – to the customers and end beneficiaries – to really understand their Purpose. And that’s where you should start too.
Purpose should be concise, down-to-earth, talk in terms of human benefit, and most of all it should be INSPIRATIONAL. When you read it back to yourself it should get your heart going. It should make you want to be part of that brand. If it doesn’t, push further. Be strident.
Purpose is the reason your brand exists. It is an inspiration. An idea. A belief. A commitment.
As with the earth, your brand has a molten, swirling layer just beneath the surface – its mantel. For the earth, that’s molten rock – magma – but for your brand it’s Culture. It’s the culmination of the behaviours and interactions that your brand’s people generates and thrives or withers upon.
Golden cultures are aligned and powerful, inspiring and fulfilling; toxic cultures are nasty, no fun and herald the demise of a brand.
The interaction of earth’s core and mantel creates its magnetic field. This is critical to life on earth, because it deflects harmful solar rays. In a similar way, an aligned culture will help to protect your brand, with a multitude of advocates and exemplars. Your culture is also what will attract like-minded and similarly aligned people to it; that’s ideal customers and ideal new members of your team.
CULTURE is all the activity that goes on below the surface of your Brand Star. CULTURE is energised by PURPOSE.
If your Purpose is inspiring and exemplified consistently in the actions and behaviours of your leadership, your Culture should become aligned, creating energetic but harmonised motivation.
If your Culture isn’t aligned you’ll get disharmony, creating instability and progressive erosion of your Brand Star from the inside.
Here’s some tips on creating an aligned Culture:
- Inspire with Purpose
- Empower with Values: establish how your brand is to be embodied day-to-day.
- Identify ambassadors: acknowledge those individuals who embody those values.
- Trust to deliver: point to the top of the hill and ask your people to get you there – Purpose will provide the motivation, and your Values will show them the manner in which they should travel. But trust them to fill the steps in between.
- Benchmark to brand: identify ways to measure your cultural health – you could sign up to our Brand in Balance programme for instance.
- Lead by example: you have to be the prime exemplar of what your brand stands for – no one will pursue a Purpose their leader doesn’t believe in.
With love from EllisJames
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