Do You Really Need a Brand Purpose?

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Has having a “purpose” lost its purpose?


In recent years, many have jumped on the “purpose” bandwagon—not the least of which are consultants and freelancers pitching for work, and CMOs wanting to make their mark. On the surface it seems like a noble thing. Why wouldn’t a person, brand or company want to serve an important higher cause through their work?

But like many things we initially create for good reason, it seems maybe we’ve gone too far. There’s a difference between taking steps to operate ethically in support of moral imperatives, and defining an organization’s entire reason for existence around a cause that is disconnected from its product or service value. And in taking up the mantle of brand purpose, it seems many brands are becoming disconnected from reality.

While sustainability is rising as an influencing factor on consumer purchase consideration, this is not to be confused with a brand’s purpose. Perhaps the biggest red flag is that everyone seems to have their own definition of what brand purpose is. Depending whom you ask, it’s equivalent to vision, mission, objective, positioning, insight, brand story, manifesto, or all of the above. With all of these other strategic tools and documents, do you really need to add a brand purpose to the mix?

While every brand needs a certain level of “north star” guidance, sometimes we marketers tend to overcomplicate things. The reality is that there are just a few fundamental things a brand needs to create in order to establish meaningful direction.

The three questions below can help you focus on these fundamentals. If you can clearly answer these questions, you probably don’t need to embark on creating a brand purpose. You may already have it.

Read the rest of this article by Kevin Namaky at the CMO Council’s Marketing Magnified where it first appeared.