I’m a social person, love meeting new people and interacting with them. Of course there are a few people close to my heart, who I share everything with and can talk freely to. If someday I’m no more around them, I’d like to believe that people who have known me will miss me. Why? Perhaps I would have had an impact on their life in some way or the other.
I feel brands too are like human beings. Who would miss your brand if it disappeared tomorrow? If a brand hasn’t had a purpose to live for, no one will be bothered if it ceased to exist.
Let’s suppose that a brand like Apple shuts shop. Will it have an impact on you? I’m assuming your answer in affirmative because Apple has lived for a purpose and that purpose is to empower creative exploration and self-expression through its products. Apple will be remembered for that and will continue to live in the hearts of people.
On October 7, 2014, Nokia, an iconic mobile handset maker with over 80% market share in India at one point of time, announced suspension of operations at its manufacturing plant in India. I clearly remember how upset I was to hear the news. It felt strange not to see Nokia phones on the shelves anymore. The first mobile phone that I owned was the Nokia 3315, a sturdy sky blue colored phone and the memory of it flashes back every time I think about the evolution of mobile handset industry in India. ‘Connecting People’ was a larger purpose the brand lived for and it succeeded to do so because till date I feel connected to the brand and needless to say, I miss it too. While Nokia lost its game in the burgeoning mobile phones market in India, it didn’t lose the connect with its brand followers and Nokia loyalists.
As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Nokia had to shut down its manufacturing plant in the country a few years ago, but being a strong brand that had lived for a purpose and strongly believed in it, is now set to make a comeback!
What is the purpose of a brand purpose?
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
To know your purpose as a brand is to know who you, as the brand, aspire to be. It’s “why” your brand exists. And this purpose further reflects in your employees, products, and consequently how you impact the world.
Interestingly, customers across age groups and specifically millennials are moving towards the state of self-actualization and looking to define their purpose in the world. They are looking at ways to create a positive impact in the world. Hence, it is becoming increasingly important for brands to address the customer’s need to move up the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and reach the self-actualization stage.
Customers seek relationship with the brands that:
Believe in a social purpose greater than their basic function, keeping humanity as a cornerstone of their architecture
Make a difference in the world
Align with good
Help and nurture others
Brands that strongly believe in doing so, not only influence human behavior for greater good but also influence the purchasing behavior of its customers.
Brand purpose can be a defining factor for why a consumer chooses your brand over others. People buy into the idea that a company exists for something larger than themselves.
Once the brand has an answer to the ‘larger purpose of their existence’, another crucial step for connecting with the audience is by sharing the authentic brand story. Authentic storytelling in the digital era has become more important than ever in the media rich world. You can have what you think to be the most compelling brand story in the world, but the power of storytelling lies in HOW it is told and how AUTHENTIC it is.
To stay authentic, one needs to be clear about the purpose of storytelling and must keep the brand identity and audience in mind.
Stories drive emotions which further drives engagement with the audience.
Emotion increases brand recall and people even make decisions based on emotions. In fact, buying decisions greatly depend on the emotional connect the story makes. Brands need to know their audience well enough to understand what will connect with them, inspire them and evoke passion in them.
Don’t sell the product, sell ideas and beliefs that customers are passionate about…that also relates to the product.
Consider Dove, one of my favorite examples of a purposeful brand that has gone beyond defining its functional purpose of selling soap and hygiene products to defining a higher purpose of helping women reconsider and redefine what beauty is. It’s remarkable how Dove has weaved in the brand purpose in its authentic brand storytelling.
Dove’s social mission is to help improve the self-esteem of women worldwide and realize their full potential. The brand’s vision is to ensure that women see their beauty as a source of confidence and not anxiety.
While Dove has shared its story through various interesting campaigns, the ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ has probably been one of the most successful worldwide marketing campaigns. The campaign set out to make women aware that they have real beauty within them and that outer beauty is not everything or the only ground for defining a woman beautiful. Dove’s goal was to make a fundamental change in the way women are perceived and in the way they view themselves.
Do you think this helped Dove earn profits? Perhaps not directly, but it makes it easier for the brand to relate to, make an emotional and human connect with its audience. Isn’t it a great way for Dove to create a positive impact in the world while making money?
Succinctly put, I truly believe that brands with clarity of purpose financially outperform those without one. Caring to make a difference and living / believing in a greater purpose must be part of every brand’s culture and their passion to make a difference and have a positive impact in the world should run across all levels in the company.
What do you think?
The article first appeared on LinkedIn.
Ancita always came across as an eager learner and willing to go the extra mile. She's got good language and social media skills and uses these to her advantage. She was also dependable and I believe she would be a good asset in any organization. I wish her well for the future.
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Although Ancita was part of the PR team, she gradually started taking interest in digital communication which I believe is an apt field for her. She effectively used her communication skills learnt in PR to deliver results in digital media which is a much needed talent in the industry. We worked together on google maps and on a project called PMOAppContest chat where Ancita ably demonstrated her creative and storytelling skills. She defined the flow of the chat and was a key campaign owner. The initiative was a huge success in India. Ancita is committed, disciplined and a diligent person and I am sure she is a great asset to her team and her organization.
Ancita is a Star performer at Six Degrees. She takes initiative and has a ‘To Do’ attitude. This has reflected in her taking up the onus of focusing her skills on Digital within the firm during the last one year and even on her own through an initiative like the SocialPowWow. She has a strong understanding of developing engaging content for audiences to increase relevance for brands. We believe that she has great potential to develop as an integrated communications professional.
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Ancita is one of the most dependable people I have ever come across. She is diligent, attentive and sharp which makes her a great asset for the team as well as clients. Within few years in PR, Ancita managed to build great media relations and helped her team crack some of the best stories. She is a great team player
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SocialPowWow chat is one of the most innovative conversations involving small businesses and thought leaders. Ancita deserves a lot of credit for being the go-getter in bringing everyone together.
I'm impressed and inspired by Ancita Satija for creating an initiative as cool as SocialPowWow and making it a movement. How many young professionals go above and beyond to make a mark and leave a legacy? Ancita has set an example for others to follow. I am sure this weekly tweet chat will grow to become much more than just a chat.
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I had the pleasure of working with Ancita, during my time at Burson Cohn and Wolfe. Ancita is affable and very easy to work with - great qualities to have in a team mate! She's a dedicated employee whose positive spirit helps guide the team that she’s in. Her experience and knowledge in digital, from copywriting to social media strategies makes her an asset to any organisation.