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23 March 2018, 14:27

Brand purpose doesn't have to be social purpose

Allowing your declared brand purpose to be steered by sector or behavioural trends will mean you’re building the core of your business on very unsteady ground. Right now, the big trend is social responsibility. Doing good for our broken world. Being the kind of business who really cares about global issues. It’s a noble and worthwhile focus. But it’s not the reason most businesses exist.

Yes, be socially responsible. Ensure your business is run ethically, sustainably and in harmony with your social context. But don’t pretend that’s the core reason you set up the business unless it genuinely is. You will only confuse your audiences, and ultimately lead them to feel you’re inauthentic and untrustworthy. 

Being honest about your true purpose will allow you to reach those who share the values your company is built on. If your business exists because you love building vehicles that look beautiful, cost the earth and fill you with adrenaline the minute you’re close to one, you can be certain there’s a whole market that share those feelings. And those are the people you want to spend your time talking to. You, and they, might have a strong social conscience too. But it’s not why you build those cars. And it’s not why they’ll buy them.

Tell me your brand will satisfy my desire for speed, excitement and power, and I’ll understand exactly what you’re talking about.

Tell me you’re all about better air quality, and I’ll wonder why on earth you’re trying to tackle that with beautiful pollutant generators.

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