In a digital age, brands that communicate with customers around a common belief or purpose outperform competitors. A common purpose is a credible, authentic and meaningful communications platform that gives competitive advantage by marking out an authentic, differentiated position, meeting customer needs and providing an innovation roadmap.
Communications informed by common purpose with customers can help new players disrupt a category or can help established brands focus their efforts and strengthen customer loyalty. Done well, the benefits extend beyond marketing departments by impacting:
- Customer: establishes the customer as organising principle
- Commercial: supports acquisition and retention activities
- Communication: helps brands evolve from a campaign to an always-on approach
- Capital: creates a digital focus that can make businesses more attractive to investors.
- Culture: supports a digital, customer-first culture.
Purpose appeals to heart and mind, creating communications that are both emotional and rational. When communications are driven by a common purpose, the balance can start to shift from paid media to advocacy to reach customers.
Let’s look at two examples:
1. Apple’s “Think Different” has driven the business since 1997, and runs deeper than communications and advertising. It has informed product design and innovation, customer and retail experience, and corporate culture – it embodies the ambition and the purpose that runs through everything that Apple does. The impact? When the company recently launched Apple Pay, customers were quick to trust the new payment system, just like when iTunes disrupted the purchasing of music in 2001. Apple is one of the most trusted brand in the world, and is currently valued at $700B.
2. Fast-food chain Chipotle was re-imagined around a common purpose that is unique in the market: fast food can be sourced responsibly.
This was communicated through actions and content uniquely tailored to customers’ lifestyles. Their Scarecrow campaign questioned industrial food production methods. They focus on bringing together food, ideas and music through their Cultivating Thought author series (featuring the work of Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell and Sarah Silverman), and their free Cultivate Festival, which takes place across a number of cities in the US.
The common purpose provides a communication platform for meaningful, always-on, communications with customers. The brand doesn’t need to create new messaging for each campaign, instead it can focus on building on this foundation at each interaction. In Q3 2014, Chipotle’s revenue increased 31.1% to $1.08 billion, compared to Q3 2013.
Markets are under constant threat of disruption and many brands aren’t working as hard as they could to ensure resilience and growth.
Resilient brands run far deeper than fonts, logotypes and tone of voice. They are truths about how the company goes about its work. Defining the common purpose – the shared goals of your brand and your customer – is an essential place to start.
At Brilliant Noise, we help organisations develop brands that are resilient to the uncertainty of the digital age. A common purpose is a foundation that provides stability as well as the flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing customer expectations.
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