Building Brand Purpose


Brand purpose is:

  • Why
  • The cause or belief that gives the organization a reason to exist and drives all activity.
  • The "To...."
  • How activity is directly informed by the purpose.

Brand purpose is not:

  • A proprietary model by Simon Sinek
  • A deep, grand, lofty statement
  • Who: people
  • What: products and services
  • When: time or moment
  • Where: place
  • How: qualities, methods, processes that get things done
  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Values
  • Strategy

A brand purpose is not just a phrase.

It informs and guides everything else.

  • Sometimes a brand's purpose is obvious. Many times, it is not, or has become muddled.
  • A brand's purpose statement doesn't mean anything as a standalone sentence.
  • The brand purpose by itself, might not persuade anyone to do anything.
  • Brand purpose is just one potential differentiator.
  • A brand's purpose should inform every single thing the brand does. Recruiting. Onboarding. Shaping culture. Partnerships. And much more.
  • If a brand purpose is true, it still needs strong follow-through in all the areas mentioned above.
  • Reviews on Glassdoor and other sites show what employees really think of the company.
  • Purpose means enforcing community guidelines. Hiding/blocking/deleting users.
  • Purpose must be reinforced by consistent actions over time.
  • Some brands do not have a purpose, other than to make money.
  • Many brands were not created with a purpose in mind, other than to make money.
  • Brand purpose is just a vanity project when there is no meaning in it.
  • Brand purpose is too lofty when the statement becomes incomprehensible.
  • Many people do not know a brand's purpose.

Questions to consider

  • Does our brand have a purpose?
  • Was this the purpose since the beginning, or did it change over time?
  • Who decided this purpose?
  • Do employees share this purpose?
  • What does the purpose really mean?
  • How does the purpose relate to mission, vision, and other terms?
  • Does the purpose sound like BS? Does it sound fake?
  • Does the purpose feel genuine? Authentic? True?
  • What is unique about the brand purpose?
  • What is meaningful about the brand purpose?
  • What does the purpose look like in action? In hiring, marketing, sales, employee retention, and a million other ways?
  • Do customers, employees, prospects, and other stakeholders know our brand purpose?
  • Which brands are strong, in and out of our space? Do we know their purpose?
  • How do we bring value to our customers?
  • How do we help people? Who?
  • So what?

Below is a list of brand purpose statement examples.

Some may be interpretations or other statements, not their official purpose statements.

This is to help inspire the creation of a purpose statement for other brands.

However, it is crucial to remember that a purpose statement, mission, vision, values, are not enough, alone or together.

They are only the beginning elements of brand and culture.

Brand Purpose Statements I Think About

Airbnb: To help create a world where you can belong anywhere.

Atoms: To build the best shoe. [Story]

CareerBuilder: To build a life that works.

Coca-Cola: To inspire happiness in every bottle.

Fabricate Studios: To inspire and empower designers of light.

Ford: To empower each person to pursue life’s journey.

Luvs: To honor the experience of experienced parents.

Method: The people against dirty.

Modelo: Brewed for those with a fighting spirit.

Nguyen Coffee Supply: We believe that coffee is personal and always encourage people to find their own voice and preference in the coffee journey.

Red Wing Shoes: To build a legacy of work done right.

Safe Camp: To be a safe space for social media strategy.

Seven Seven Six: A reminder to make great advancements but not to repeat great mistakes.

Sour Patch Kids: To cause a little bit of trouble, but mostly add sweetness.

Southwest: We give people the freedom to fly.

Brand Purpose Statements That Broke

Disney: To be the world's happiest place.

Dove: We believe beauty should be a source of confidence, not anxiety.

Gain: Everyone deserves to smell clean.

Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.

Hanna Andersson: To help family moments become lasting memories. (Strike 1, 2)

Robinhood: Democratizing finance for all. (Strike 1)

Starbucks: To be the third place. (Strike 1)

Uber: To evolve the way the world moves.

Ulta: On a quest to bring the fun side of beauty to all. (Strike 1)

Additional Reading

Brand Language

Your Company’s Purpose Is Not Its Vision, Mission, or Values

Harvard Business Review: Competing on Social Purpose

Shift Your Organization from Panic to Purpose

How to Encourage Employees to Speak Up When They See Wrongdoing

Harvard Business Review: How Did Business’s Role in Society Change in 2020?

Ben and Jerry's on the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol

Why Ben & Jerry’s Speaks Out

Ben & Jerry’s Is Releasing A Podcast About Racism In America

Apple vs. Facebook in 2021

How Robinhood betrayed its brand and undermined its mission

With GameStop, Robinhood broke the biggest rule of branding

Cough up Cadbury: Brand Purpose Death by Chocolate

Patagonia Just Got 2 Million People Time Off to Vote

‘Movement that inspires’ – Kia presents its new brand purpose and future strategy

They left Mozilla to make the internet better. Now they’re spreading its gospel for a new generation.

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