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Brand Purpose and the Top 100

My last post covered The 10 Action Points for Building and Sustaining Valuable Brands from the BrandZ annual survey done for WPP. I dug in a bit and further explored two of the points that combine to support the importance of Brand Value Exchange—where consumers and brands exchange information providing value to both sides. Now I’d like to look more closely at the very first Action Point from the survey outcomes, it is:

1. Be purposeful
Every brand needs a purpose. Consumers assume brands are in business to make money, of course, but they also expect a well-defined and clearly communicated brand purpose. While that purpose might describe a way in which the brand changes the world, it must certainly describe the way the brand improves the customer’s life.

There you have it: Every brand needs a purpose. A simple truth that drives success but often eludes organizations of all types, sizes and ages. And the above statement brilliantly simplifies it into two actionable factors:

First: The purpose must describe the way the brand improves the customer’s life.
Second: It must be well-defined and clearly communicated.


Why is Brand Purpose Important?

Brands are expected to be transparent in their actions and to follow through on commitments to a wider society in order to gain trust from consumers, who are increasingly looking beyond a product to see whether the corporate brand is one with which they want to align. Brand purpose is more than just a driver for business growth; it is also a differentiator at a time when so many companies are struggling to stay profitable while competing on price. Simply put, purpose is your brand’s “why”—both why you matter and why you exist. That’s why “making money” won’t cut it as a purpose. Your brand needs to make a difference in the world, and in the lives of those who matter most to the brand. And to clarify, if purpose is your “why,” then your vision is “what” you want to achieve as a result. In other words, ask yourself ‘If we remain committed to our purpose, what will we accomplish?’ And finally, mission is “how” you’ll advance your purpose and achieve your vision.

Companies that follow through on a ‘brand purpose’ to add meaning to products and services enable consumers to trust and connect on an emotional level, according to a new index that ranks the top 100 companies on this measure (as published in Marketing Week).

In fact, the premise of Radley Yeldar’s ‘Fit for purpose’ report, in which the index is published, is that the role of the corporate brand has changed radically because of technology, the proliferation of content, increasingly savvy consumers and sustainability moving from fringe to mainstream. Hilary Parsons, senior public affairs manager at Nestlé, says: “For a company to prosper over the long term and create value for shareholders, it must create value for society at the same time. Brand purpose is the unique benefit your business brings to the world; it’s how you make your business stronger by making the world better.”

Communicate the “Why” for an Emotional Brand Connection

Discovering, defining and communicating brand purpose—the “Why”—is what many of our clients are now engaging McKnight Kurland to achieve. Numerous societies and associations are hiring us for ‘member value messaging’ initiatives. Other organizations are looking to us to establish meaningful communications programs that engage both the heads and hearts of their stakeholder audiences by addressing both rational and emotional brand issues. True Human-to-Human Communications.

An early adopter of the move to clarify and communicate member value is ASCP. Through an exhaustive messaging analysis initiative, we were able to identify and articulate key value propositions that deliver member value, and craft implementation language for a year-long campaign. Key to this initiative’s success—and for any brand—was to provide a solution that layered and sequenced messaging.


One way to think of a value messaging effort is as a traditional ‘drip’ campaign, delivering individual messages under the umbrella of the brand’s positioning, which accumulate in the story of individually meaningful brand purpose. Read the full story of how we communicated the way the ASCP brand improves members’ lives—communicating Brand Purpose through Value Messaging.


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