Today I want to talk about one of the most important aspects of assembling your brand messaging: purpose.
Purpose is at the top of the agenda when I sit down with clients to craft their messaging and it’s a great topic to revisit at the beginning of the year.
Purpose is the “why” that lends meaning to the “what” of what you do. Purpose reveals your motives, and motives are important because they reveal your values.
Besides the tangible solutions you offer through your products and services, values are the #1 thing your audience buys when they buy you.
If your values [as revealed by your purpose] align with your audience’s, then the skies are the limit to what you can build with your customers!
So, it goes without saying that defining your purpose is hugely important. Like a compass points a captain to true north, a crystal clear purpose points to the ideas, innovations, and intentions you should pursue to make your customers' lives better.
But let’s clear something up:
Having a purpose and having a mission statement are two different things.
Here's my take on how mission and purpose differ:
Anyone can have a vague, formulaic, jargony statement about being “best in class by redefining the industry with leading-edge technology that disrupts the status quo.”
I bet you’ve seen hundreds of these! At best they're a bore, at worst they're empty words.
Don’t get me wrong: codifying your day-to-day mission is very important for your internal audiences. It gets everyone on the same page, and that's a worthy goal.
But no one ever waited in line for 12 hours on release day, or edited a fanzine, or hosted a viewing party, or bought the t-shirt for a brand that was purposeless, but awesome.
Nope. Customers bend over backwards for a brand only when they feel connected to its purpose and aligned with its values.
Perhaps this is why I’ve noticed more and more organizations de-commissioning tired ol’ mission statements from their websites in favor of purpose-driven language instead?
If you’ve never thought about your organization’s purpose or haven’t revisited your “why” in a long time, then this is my A-1 tip for strengthening your brand.
Give yourself a few days to answer these questions to flush out your purpose and uncover your "why."
10 Questions for Uncovering "Why" & Embracing Your Purpose:
- What do your customers want to do that they either can’t do or find difficult to do?
- How can you fix that?
- Why do you want to fix that?
- Why are you the one(s) to take this on?
- What happens if you succeed? What difference will it make?
- Why does that difference matter?
- What do your customers believe about the world? – Life, love, happiness, truth, etc.
- What do you believe?
- What do you know for certain that you wish everyone could know?
- If everyone knew what you know, how would the world change?
Mull these over and write down your answers. It doesn't matter if they're messy or nonsensical at first. Just get them down on paper. When you’re ready, take a stab at writing a statement of purpose that hits on the six elements in the Mission vs. Purpose graphic above.
Pro Tips for Writing Your Statement of Purpose:
- Don’t be overly formal.
- Have fun with the words, phrases, or word-pictures that you use.
- Play around with tone. Is your brand optimistic, maverick, pensive, blunt, feminine, masculine, aspirational? Insert tone-specific words to stay on-brand.
- Keep it short and sweet. Meaningful doesn't have to be long.
- Lastly, don’t rush to put your statement up on your website – sit with it for a few days and think about how you can let this language shape how you talk about your products, services, and brand.
Need Some Help Clarifying Your Purpose?
In this 4-to-6-week program your and I will craft words and ideas that express your brand's purpose and personality.
To chat about your brand messaging needs, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.