brand purpose

Building Brand Purpose with Market Research

Building Brand Purpose with Market Research

brand purpose

As businesses seek to scale, grow and differentiate themselves from others in their field, they’ll need to have their brand purpose on full display. 

Making light of your brand purpose is a critical way to show that your brand is mission-driven and exits beyond the shallow purpose of making a profit. Customers, especially the younger generation are fond of brands with a purpose.

In fact, 92% of Gen Z and 90% of Millennial respondents say they would support a purposeful brand, compared with 81% of Gen X consumers.

Consumers from across the globe also view brands that actively display their purpose in a positive light. 64% of global consumers say brands that communicate their purpose are more attractive. 62% want companies to take a stand on the issues they care about.

This article delves into brand purpose, its importance, examples of companies with visible purpose and how to find and build your own through market research. 

Understanding Brand Purpose

This concept refers to a brand’s moral reason for being and what it stands for aside from making a profit and other commercial interests. Typically, a business assumes a brand purpose aligned with what its customers believe. 

Also called the North Star and the noble purpose of a brand, it largely deals with finding a reason for the brand’s existence and using it to help its consumers.

Brand purpose is essentially the “why” behind a company. This “why” allows the business to show customers the values it holds and the noble cause it hopes to either achieve or contribute to. 

A business’s brand purpose can serve as a reflection of the founders’ lives and experiences, what they consider to be gaps in their market or a major change in their market. 

A brand’s purpose can be ethical, moral or political in nature, giving customers the chance to do business with a brand that supports a certain cause or way of life.

A brand purpose should not be confused with a brand promise, which is the general expectation a product or service offers to its customers.

Coming Up With a Brand Purpose

When coming up with a brand purpose, consider how your business intends to make the world improve, or at least a component of it. This can involve affecting social obligations for your target market, environment or society at large. 

This will resonate with your consumers and their values and give them another reason to patronize you. 

Ask yourself the following to begin finding your brand purpose:

  1. What does your brand stand for?
  2. Does your business have a mission? 
  3. What does your business strive to do – or commit to never do?
  4. What values does your brand uphold or plan on upholding?
  5. How can you use your values as a company to strive towards a goal for the greater good?

Questions like these are at the core of brand purpose. Once you answer these, you can study your customers to probe further. 

The Importance of Brand Purpose

A brand purpose goes far beyond appearing conscientious in your market. 

First off, a powerful brand purpose will set you apart from the competition. Plenty of business rivals may offer similar products, services and experiences, but they are unlikely to share the same brand value of your brand — or any at all.

A brand purpose is a potent aspect of your business to use for building your reputation and strengthening your brand equity. You can do so by establishing your brand as one that is socially, environmentally, politically or otherwise conscious and caring about issues besides its own bottom line.

importance of brand purpose

In turn, this humanizes your brand. Your business will no longer be seen as merely another provider or another cash cow. Instead, it will be recalled as one with a human conscious, one that cares bout a certain issue and it attempting to reach goals that ultimately benefit society in one way or another.   

By improving your reputation and heightening your brand as one not solely concerned about profits, you can thus apply your brand purpose in your branding. You can do this across a wide span of campaigns, from branding to PR to advertising and beyond. Your best bet is to apply it to the main conduit of your communications: your content marketing strategy.

This involves directly mentioning your purpose and alluding to it across your blogs, resources pages, social media, landing pages, videos and any other channel that grants you the opportunity to make consumers aware of your brand purpose. 

Finally and most importantly, having a brand purpose makes the brand more appealing to the customers, as they will feel that their spending is making a difference in the world. It will also make them feel like they are a part of something greater than just a customer buying journey or shopping session.

A brand purpose enables your business to connect with consumers on a personal level. This is important, as aforementioned, given that customers are becoming increasingly invested in brands that have a purpose.

In fact, 52% of customers say they are more attracted to buy from brands if they stand for something bigger than just the products and services they sell, especially if it aligns with their personal values.

Moreover, 71% of customers say they prefer to buy from a purpose-driven company over another one, should the cost and quality be the same. What’s more astonishing is that despite the statistics of consumers leaving brands after one bad experience, 72% of consumers say they would forgive a company with a brand purpose if it made a mistake. 

The implications of these statistics are major, pointing to higher levels of brand trust in purposeful companies. Additionally, it means that when a customer contemplates a brand with purpose, they are also more inclined to remember it, purchase from it and want to work for it.

In addition, when a customer sees a logo of a purpose-driven brand, they’ll associate it with being compassionate, responsible and ethical. 

All in all, when brands exhibit a brand purpose, they are effectively standing out among competitors, improving their reputation, gaining ideas for marketing and branding and resonating with customers and their values.

All brands should therefore strive to be purpose-driven. 

Examples of Companies With Brand Purpose

Companies across various sectors have taken up a brand purpose. This has given their customers a much deeper meaner to their brand and offerings. 

create brand purpose

The following lays out a few examples of companies that actively demonstrate their brand purpose:

  1. Dove: The personal care company aims to help women discover the value of real beauty and improve self-esteem worldwide. Their #speakbeautiful movement encouraged women to be kinder to themselves and embrace their natural bodies. The brand creates relatable and realistic marketing instead of the highly edited images common in the beauty industry.
  2. Muji: The Japanese retailer of household items and apparel promotes self-restraint, humility and the natural state of the environment, along with supporting simplicity and moderation. It sustains the latter by offering functional products with a simple design and are practical to use. As for the former, Muji emphasizes reducing production, recycling and packaging waste.
  3. Crayola: The art supply company works to help parents and teaches foster creativity within children. It enables those in children’s lives to inspire them to be “creatively alive” instead of simply using their products. Crayola had various programs dedicated to this purpose, a mission they attempt to achieve globally.
  4. Everlane: The American clothing retailer has a threefold brand purpose. It is bent on creating environmentally friendly products, providing high-quality products and being transparent as possible. The company sources only from ethical factories — the kinds that have fair wages and hours. It uses fine materials and brands itself as being radically transparent. When it comes to the latter, Everlane gives information on how much their clothes cost to be made, which materials they used, the labor involved and even the transporting methods. 

How to Find and Build Brand Purpose with Market Research

Market research can help you discover the possible themes and nuances of your brand purpose. This is because there are various market research techniques you can use to study your target market, the group of customers most likely to buy from you.

You can begin conducting market research via secondary sources, such as trade magazines, news websites, blogs and competitor websites to see the kinds of purposes your competitors are aligning themselves with.

You can also use these sources to understand which purposes resonate the most with customers and the kinds of campaigns brands in your field and beyond have created based on their brand purpose. This will help you form the onset of your brand purpose.

Next, shift into primary market research by conducting survey research on your target market. This will give you firsthand insights into all of your customers’ thoughts in relation to current issues and popular causes. 

Use a trusted online survey platform to reach the correct target market sample. This platform should allow you to extract the exact amount of respondents that you input in the screener, including quotas on various audiences. 

Your survey platform should have the option of being able to incorporate multiples audiences in one survey. That way, you can observe different target market segments and customer personas under one survey study, allowing you to analyze the data via the same dashboard.

You should also be able to reach the correct respondents via demographics, behaviors, and even by their specific answers to screening questions

Ask your respondents about various social issues, from the environment to education and all else. In your survey, you should seek out which issue and which message resonates the most with your target market, along with which elicits the strongest reactions. In this way, you may need to insert elements of emotional marketing

You should also add A/B testing into your surveys to see which messaging or issues affect your customers the most, along with which they care most about. Remember to conduct market research beforehand, as you’ll need to know your customers before you set out to find your brand purpose. 

You can continue surveying customers after you’ve decided on a brand purpose, to find the right messaging and images. Do so with A/B testing, including sequential testing

Differentiating Your Business

Creating a brand purpose and applying it to various marketing campaigns will differentiate your business and ultimately allow it to survive. But before you insert a brand purpose into your branding, you’ll need to find a strong one that your target market deems important and compelling. 

To do so, you’ll need a strong market research platform to host your survey campaigns. Such a platform should run on random device engagement (RDE) sampling, so you can reach customers in their natural digital environments, instead of pre-recruiting them. This removes social pressures in the surveys and will cut back on survey bias.

You should also use a mobile-first platform, since mobile dominates the digital space and no one wants to take surveys in a mobile environment that’s not built for them.  

The online survey platform you opt for should also offer artificial intelligence and machine learning to remove low-quality data, disqualify low-quality data and offer a broad range of survey and question types.

It should also allow you to survey anyone.  As such, you’ll need a platform with a reach to millions of consumers, along with one that offers the Distribution Link feature. This feature will allow you to send your survey to specific customers, instead of only deploying them across a vast network. 

With an online survey platform with all of these capabilities, you’ll be able to motivate your customers into making repeat purchases.