It’s tempting to just stay in bed and wait for all this to be over, but hear me out. I’d like to urge you to think about the purpose of your brand or business.
Can you honestly say that your business has a sense of purpose? Can you say it one clear and easy to understand sentence? Once you’ve nailed your purpose, the rest of your communications strategy should be easy to pull together.
Your purpose, or your ‘why’, underpins everything about your business. It is the larger reason you do what you do and should be outward focused – defining the difference you will make in a life, a community, or even the world.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Your purpose doesn’t have to be complicated or grandiose. You don’t have to save the world, although it certainly needs saving. Your purpose just has to be a clear statement of what it is that you do and why people should care.
Seven Seventeen, for example, creates vegan candles that smell amazing and 10% of profits are donated to mental health charities. Estrid makes vegan razors for women that cost the same as men’s razors; it also donates to a number of charities that support women and gender equality around the world. Laidback London is a shoe brand that works with local artisans in Kenya, preserving traditional craftsmanship and giving back to the local community.
These are just a few examples of brands I rate or have bought from recently: it’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but they tick all the right boxes for me.
TELL IT LIKE YOU WOULD A FRIEND
Imagine you’re talking to a friend and describing your idea over a coffee or glass of wine. Keep it simple. Storytelling techniques really help here.
- Identify a problem (in Estrid’s case, the problem is the so-called ‘pink tax’, in which women pay more than men for basic items like razors).
- Your business or brand needs to offer a solution to this problem.
- Remember: you’re not the hero of the story, your customer is. Your business or brand is the guide, the solution, the product or service that will make your hero’s life easier.
- Your business purpose needs to be communicated in a simple and easy to understand way – clarity is key.
- Practice writing down your business purpose. Avoid the use of jargon or complicated adjectives.
I’ve figured out my purpose, and it’s this: to help you find your voice and tell your businesses story so that you can connect with your tribe. That’s it. It makes sense to me, I love doing it, so everything I do feeds into that clear sense of purpose. I’ve also decided (because it seems like the right thing to do) to give 5% of everything I earn to charity, so if you work with me you will be helping others.
GIVING BACK – NOT A GIMMICK
The trend for brands to give back is not to be dismissed. Most people (and not just the woke) want to make a difference. We care about gender inequality, about climate change, about racism, about mental health, the list is endless.
I came up with my 5% pledge whilst on a run during lockdown v2. I’m not a brilliant runner but I love running – it keeps me sane and gives me a break from all the lockdown loopiness. I’ve been feeling so helpless in the face of the pandemic; I really wanted to do something to make a difference but with three young kids to look after and a regular flow of freelance work, I didn’t know how to find the time to physically help out on the frontline.
So this small gesture is my way of making a difference. I plan to continue with my 5% charitable pledge for good. My current charity is The Sussex Snowdrop Trust, which I will be supporting by taking part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon. This year the event will celebrate, commemorate and reflect upon the landmark moments of 2020, shining a light on how we are coming together as a nation during this unprecedented time. Again, this ticks all the right boxes for me, so I’m in.
So, if you do one thing this miserable month, it’s to define your purpose. Use this time at home to think about the bigger picture and make a few plans about how you will define what you do so that people buy into it. Do that and you will thrive. But don’t just take it from me. Below are some stats from Deloitte about why being a purpose-led business makes total business sense.
- Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains.
- They grow on average three times faster than competitors.
- Companies with a clear sense of purpose report 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of workforce retention than their competitors.
And if all this talk of strategy makes you want to hibernate until the craziness is over, let’s talk. I love nothing more than having a natter about your business and finding that gem of a story that will make people fall in love with your brand. One day, hopefully soon, life will return to normal, and when it does you will want your business to be at the forefront of your ideal customers’ minds.