Purpose-driven businesses seem to be the trend nowadays. Isn’t this just a slick marketing trick?
The millennials, Gen Z; they all seem to find it important that brands do something good for the world. Thus, many businesses have pivoted and added a “green element” or a social good aspect to their strategy.
You wouldn’t be the first one to say; that’s purely marketing. Most companies don’t care about giving back.
You might be right. The reasons for some brands might not be as genuine as they presume. But aside of that, purpose-driven is the new norm. Purpose doesn’t always mean doing something good for the world, it means there’s more reason to doing business than just making money.
Building a purpose-driven business
There’s one method that I always use to get to the core purpose of a business. It’s the Golden Circle. It’s deeply integrated in my BECOMING ZORRO-program. The master behind the Golden Circle is Simon Sinek. I highly recommend to watch his TED talk. It’s a fairly old video with bad sound, but it doesn’t make the message any less important.
You start with asking yourself:
Why do I do what I do?
What is the purpose of my business?
Why do I get out of bed every day?
(and no, it’s not to make money. Money is a result of what you do. It doesn’t determine anything).
Determining why you do something is not only a good motivator for you and a good compass for making decisions, but it’s also a brand message that people either resonate with or not.
You stand for something, you strive for something!
So marketing or not. It is an opportunity to connect!
Why is purpose important?
People buy from people. People buy based on their feelings. Like Simon Sinek tells us: “I know what all the facts and details say but it just doesn’t feel right.” The part of the brain, the limbic brain, that controls decision making doesn’t control language. So we have to speak to the emotion of our audience, to something they really care about. Telling your potential customer all about how beautiful and good your product or service is, is not going to drive (buying) behavior.
People will buy from you when they recognize themselves in your story. The know-like-trust principle. First, people have to know you (this needs a communication strategy on its own), then people have to like you, and then they have to want to trust you before they buy. That’s only possible if you show them an authentic brand with an authentic story (and proof!), told by you or on behalf of the company.
No bad clients
On top of that, when you are in a service-based industry and your clients don’t compel to your why, you’ll end up working with people who are less motivated or not a real match with your brand.
There’s so much supply! There’s a solution for everything. You are not the only person offering what you offer.
But, your why will distinguish you from everyone else.
Be clear about your why. In all your communication, also on your website. People will resonate, and if not, it’s your job to refer them to someone else who will meet their needs. In that way you’ll leave a good impression and make sure you only work with the clients you want to work with.
Last but not least, since money is not why you’re doing business – money is a result – you want to know why you run your business. So you can fall back on this motivator when things get tough.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek
Don’t sit back and see where this purpose-trend is going. Act now. There is truth in the fact that the new generation wants to make a difference with what they buy. But don’t only do it for them. Do it for you, for your employees. We’ve left the industrialization age behind, the information age, and we’re entering the conceptual and experience-based age. Soon machines will beat humans at knowledge-based cognitive tasks. Uniquely human competencies like purpose and empathy will allow us to thrive.
It’s a necessity. And it’s a fun one!
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