No brand is an island. Each is connected in a complicated nexus that interacts with people and culture in impactful ways. Brand purpose is how you moor yourself in this chaos. How your brand stays centered, relevant, and meaningful.\u00a0 Consumers are pickier than ever about purpose-driven brands. Don\u2019t be the one left behind.\u00a0 Okay, so what\u2019s the deal?\u00a0 If you understand what a brand is and you know what having a purpose means, you\u2019ve probably got a good idea of what brand purpose is. However, the term is more complicated in practice than in theory.\u00a0 A brand purpose epitomizes what your brand stands for and what all messaging ultimately points to\u2013\u2013like a North Star. Let\u2019s take that concept and run with it for a second. The physical North Star is used as a beacon for navigation\u2013\u2013its stable position in the sky provides reassurance that you\u2019re on the right track. Your brand\u2019s North Star must similarly lead your brand to your ultimate goals. Again and again.\u00a0 If you have a concert ticket service and your brand goal is to create worthwhile connections, you should always be pointing back to that concept. Your brand messaging should connect people, your ads should inspire responses and community involvement, and you should have physical pop-ups that connect people. It\u2019s not just about the concerts; it\u2019s about who your brand\u2019s audience shares them with and how the music makes them feel.\u00a0 If you apply this concept to your brand, what are your guiding words? What are your goals? Your aspirations? And your brand messages? Brand purpose goes beyond marketing. It\u2019s in your brand\u2019s very DNA.\u00a0 Brand audit Say \u201caudit\u201d to anyone with a business, and their blood pressure might go up. Doing an audit for your brand is not so traumatizing, we promise. Essentially, this requires you to look at all aspects of your brand under a magnifying glass. From social media messaging to core values, your brand is a cumulation of every word and action you put out into the world.\u00a0 The 2019 Brandweek conference (hosted by Adweek) revealed some interesting trends about brand purpose. Jim Stengel, of The Jim Stengel Company, said: \u201cWe\u2019ve done a pretty good job as an industry trying to find our purpose, and then we\u2019re doing okay on bringing it to life.\u201d In standardized test format, he gave finding brand purpose a B, whereas executing purpose was given between a C and an F.\u00a0 As far as the grading system goes, some of those are barely passing or failing. What that means is that brands have come a long way in understanding the need for brand purpose, but still need some help implementing (and living by) it. That\u2019s why a brand audit is necessary. \u00a0 How to perform a brand audit\u00a0 A general brand audit \u201cis a checkup that evaluates your brand\u2019s position in the marketplace, its strengths and weaknesses, and how to strengthen it.\u201d If you are specifically trying to find or strengthen your brand purpose, you should do all of the above plus identify your brand\u2019s purpose, see if it resonates with audiences, and look at each touchpoint to make sure it communicates the purpose.\u00a0 Review your marketing materials\u00a0 You should begin your audit by going over your past marketing materials, campaigns, and copy. This is also where you should \u201cidentify your businesses\u2019 mission, vision, unique selling proposition, and positioning.\u201d Don\u2019t forget that marketing materials also include your logo, business cards, online and social media presence, and any brand interaction you have. When reviewing everything, you should always be thinking of your core values and overall purpose. If you can\u2019t find a cohesive answer, this is a red flag that you need one.\u00a0 Speak to your customers and employees Surveys and focus groups are a great way to understand your brand from your customers\u2019 and employees\u2019 perspectives. The \u201cmixture of quantitative and qualitative feedback will provide a more rounded view\u201d and help you understand how others see your brand and what they think your purpose is. Asking your customers and employees questions can also help you \u201cuncover answers to questions that cannot be easily told by data.\u201d Analytics are important but don\u2019t get lost in the numbers. Your brand purpose doesn\u2019t live in statistics and social reach. You\u2019ve got to dig deep.\u00a0 See what your competitors are doing Most brands should (and do) have a pulse on what their competitors are doing. This usually would refer only to your competitors\u2019 \u201cSEO and rankings, backlinks, content, adverts\u201d and generally where they stand in the market." But that\u2019s not all that\u2019s necessary when auditing for brand purpose. When looking through your competitors\u2019 materials, see if you can spot their brand purpose easily and, taking that further, if their purpose is evident in everything they do.\u00a0 Monitor results (consistently)\u00a0 As you continue to develop and implement your purpose, you should continuously \u201creview the results to ensure the changes are having the desired effect.\u201d Are you consistent with your purpose from one audit to the next? How do consumer attitudes change throughout the years? If you had a rebrand, did your purpose and core values stay intact?\u00a0 Brand mindfulness\u00a0 Mindfulness is not just about personal wellness. It\u2019s also crucial for brands to take a moment to think before they post and to create meaningful content. A mindful brand operates on a different plane than other brands.\u00a0 A recent post sums it up: \u201cThe similarities between mindfulness, meditation and branding are very close. At the core, they\u2019re about awareness, discovery, focus, and compassion.\u201d When brands connect with their audiences, when they find more profound messages to create, and when they have an awareness of the world around them, they are practicing brand mindfulness.\u00a0 Rather than making \u201cdecisions based on external market pressure,\u201d make brand decisions with your purpose in mind. When you pursue the good your brand can do, when your messages are positive, and when you try to make the world a better place, you\u2019re on your way to having a mindful and purposeful brand.\u00a0 Do you have a vision, mission, and values? An important step when starting, rebranding, or doing a brand audit is to check if you have the following: a mission, a vision, and brand values. These ingredients help to make up what will become your brand purpose.\u00a0 When creating or honing in these concepts, keep in mind that they are \u201cthe building blocks of your brand, think of your brand purpose as the foundation.\u201d If you arranged these concepts on a triangle, the brand purpose would be at the top with your vision, mission, and values beneath.\u00a0 Another way to think of it: \u201cYour brand vision is where you are going. Your mission is how you will get there. And your values define how you will act along the way.\u201d Having a brand purpose makes it easier to define these three as well.\u00a0 Creating a brand purpose statement\u00a0 Now for the good stuff. Your brand purpose statement is the shining North Star that sits above all other brand concepts. Your brand purpose statement needs to answer the all-important \u201cwhy.\u201d Why do you exist? Why are you passionate about your product\/service? And why does it make a difference?\u00a0 Just take a look at some of the most famous brand purpose statements for inspiration:\u00a0 Nike\u00a0 \u201cTo use the power of sport to move the world forward. We believe in a fair, sustainable future\u2014one where everyone thrives on a healthy planet and level playing field.\u201d\u00a0 Starbucks\u00a0 \u201cTo establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.\u201d Dove \u201cDove believes that beauty is not one dimensional; it is not defined by your age, the shape or size of your body, the colour of your skin or your hair \u2013 it\u2019s feeling like the best version of yourself. Authentic. Unique. Real. We invite all women to realise their personal potential for beauty by engaging them with products that deliver superior care.\u201d Think about these statements and then all corresponding ads and interactions from these brands, and it just makes sense. That\u2019s the power of a purpose-driven brand.\u00a0 What is your brand\u2019s goal?\u00a0 Are you looking for profits, power, or purpose? Sure, you want to do well\u2013\u2013maybe even be a household name\u2013\u2013but is that your only goal?\u00a0 Once you\u2019ve clearly defined your brand purpose, you need to set goals for your brand that align with it. Let\u2019s say you own a photo gift brand, and your purpose is to create and preserve tangible souvenirs of life\u2019s fondest memories. Your goal is to spread this message and make your services available to anyone. So, you offer free photo workshops where adults and kids make photo gifts, provide discounts and regular sales, and source your materials so they are sustainable.\u00a0 If you\u2019re wondering how profits figure into the higher goal of purpose, they\u2019re kind of the same now. Or, instead, one can lead to the other. A recent survey showed that 63% of global participants \u201cprefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and beliefs.\u201d What\u2019s more, these consumers want companies to stand for something (social, cultural, environmental, etc.), use quality ingredients, treat their employees well, and improve the environment.\u00a0 Now those are some lofty and purposeful goals.\u00a0 To drive this point home, 47% of participants said they have \u201cstopped doing business with a company in response to a moment of brand disappointment.\u201d We can\u2019t think of a worse way to lose profits and people than lacking purpose.\u00a0 Are you making the world a better place?\u00a0 This is a heavy one. Maybe you think, But I only sell water bottles. How can that possibly make the world a better place? The thing is if you have an authentic and valid purpose, and you follow through with these goals in everything you do, you can reasonably make an impact. Your goals could be creating a more sustainable water bottle, or creating a nonprofit sub-brand that is working toward cleaning the world\u2019s water supply or even protecting the world\u2019s natural springs and waterways.\u00a0 The idea here is thinking beyond your brand. Some of our favorite brands are doing this in leaps and bounds:\u00a0 KIND Snacks The snack company\u2019s purpose goes further than encouraging its consumers to lead healthy lifestyles. They also create opportunities for their employees to work actively through the KIND Foundation to \u201cfoster communities that are healthier, more empathetic and embrace our shared humanity.\u201d\u00a0 Salesforce Salesforce is a global CRM platform that has made connections an integral part of its brand. They put \u201cthe world\u2019s best technology in the hands of nonprofits and educational institutions, so they connect their organizations and accelerate their impact.\u201d The company makes a point to treat their employees well and encourage them to volunteer in the community to put their purpose into practice.\u00a0 Ben & Jerry\u2019s Ben & Jerry\u2019s could have created delicious ice cream and stopped there. But they decided to make their brand meaningful from the beginning. Their three-part mission consists of their product mission to source the best ingredients, economic mission for sustainable financial growth, and their social mission to \u201coperate in a way that initiates innovative ways to improve quality of life.\u201d They also give away 7.5% of their pretax profit each year through the Ben & Jerry\u2019s Foundation.\u00a0 Warby Parker The affordable glasses company uses each month\u2019s glasses tally to donate to their nonprofits. They also work with partners to \u201ctrain men and women in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses to their communities\u201d at affordable prices.\u00a0 Northerly Farms\u00a0 The Canada-based Northerly Farms is on a mission to give back and fight hunger. Their give-back initiative, For the Grainer Good, recently announced a partnership with the United Food Bank and \u201cis set to donate over 142,000 servings of food to hunger relief organizations across North America.\u201d By supporting transparency, improving food accessibility, and building stronger communities, they are showing how all brands have the power for good.\u00a0 Purpose is powerful Brand purpose may have gained traction as a buzzword the last few years, but the best brands have been doing this for decades. Pursuing purpose means that you have a clear vision, mission, and goals for your brand, and your every interaction strengthens them. Purpose-driven brands are helping to change the world. Will you be one of them?