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What does your brand stand for?

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16th April 2021

There are great products and services out there and great brands too, but not enough mission-first companies. If you have a solid mission - educate people about what you believe in, why, and how much hard work you put into it.

 

So many companies are competing for customers and employees’ attention. Winning has nothing to do with being “cool” or having a lofty acquisition budget.

Companies need to develop a mission and values narrative that resonates with people, and practice those values every single day. It’s a nuanced and deliberate work that has to touch every avenue of the business, regardless of being “customer facing”. Putting people at the center of what you’re building, both internally and externally, is critical.

There are great products and services out there and great brands too, but not enough mission-first companies. If you have a solid mission - educate people about what you believe in, why, and how much hard work you put into it.

Consistently practicing what you preach won’t just result in having product or brand evangelists, but rather mission evangelists; Your genuine approach and educational efforts will allow customers (and employees!) to get behind your mission and see how much bigger it is than what you’re selling alone. Then, they won’t just become life long customers or highly engaged employees, they will also echo your mission forward, organically share it with others, form communities, and fuel your brand’s DNA and organic growth over time and at scale. That’s how communities are built.

Stating your mission upfront is also a way of being transparent with your customer. When customers want transparency, they want to know who the brand is sourcing from, who is making their product and why the brand is doing all of this. Patagonia and Body Shop were clear in their approach - “we exist to fight for a fairer, more beautiful world”. You wont find them over stating their mission to do good in order to sell products. It doesn’t have to – we intrinsically know what its about because  it simply does just that. Furthermore, the business’s purpose allows it to vet its actions against what’s happening in the world at present. During the 50 years since The Body Shop’s launch, what it means to fight for a fairer world has evolved, and the Body Shop has been able to grow with its audience’s understanding of fairness and beauty. Whole truth Foods and Fashion Revolution are other such examples. Those that just pay lip service are called out for Green Washing.

 

Staying true to yourself really is the coolest thing you can do.

 

The other aspect is functional and doing the right thing. Like Crocs or Paragon. Having a clear purpose gave Crocs the north star it needs to stay true to itself, ensuring Crocs can stand up to scrutiny. Whether worn by a nurse, a chef, or a rapper, Crocs – as a product and as a brand – always does exactly what it promises.

We had an amazing conversation with Hadas Drutman, ex-Glossier, on building brands that customers love. Here are some key learning for entrepreneurs starting out. Ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. Why I am starting this company
2. What do I hope to create
3. What do I hope to change and why

These questions become the foundation of the brand & building a genuine foundation that can resonate with people is the first step. Immersing yourself in research by talking to a diverse group of people to gain insights can help with creating a holistic experience for your brand.

Scaling culture is hard, and scaling a magical feeling driven by the experience of the brand is even harder. Many brands today compromise on investing in developing and training the talent they recruit. 

Building an experience for a brand that’s driven by people and creating a space that makes people feel like they belong are two very intangible things. 

Diversifying content is another important aspect. Special moments are different for everyone and when scaling internationally, make sure those moments carry through.

If you’re a brand, start with defining your purpose and culture you want to create. Use that as your north star to scale.

 

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