March 2024

Transforming brands: how purpose drives success and connects with customers

8 minutes

Do you ever wonder what really sets apart the good brands from those unforgettable ones that linger in your mind long after you've seen them? Well, we're about to let you in on a secret. Because, it's not just about the numbers in the profit column or how loud you can shout in a crowded market.
The real difference is purpose.

For instance, consider Tony's Chocolonely, a brand that's not just about making mouthwatering chocolate but is on a mission to improve the cocoa industry. Tony’s Chocolonely was established with a clear goal: to combat modern slavery and child labour in cocoa farms across West Africa, challenges deeply rooted in the industry's unequal cocoa chain​​​​.

Through their unique approach, Tony’s Chocolonely showcases how a brand's purpose can truly set it apart. They’ve created a roadmap to achieve 100% slave-free chocolate, not just within their own products but across all chocolate worldwide. This ambitious goal is pursued by adhering to Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles for slave-free cocoa, demonstrating that making chocolate free of forced labour is feasible and commercially viable​​​​.

Tony's Chocolonely's commitment goes beyond its delicious chocolate bars. It actively raises awareness, leads by example, and inspires action towards an exploitation-free cocoa industry. This dedication has not only set it apart in the chocolate market but has also cultivated a community of consumers and stakeholders passionate about ethical practices and sustainability​​​​.

So, why does this matter to you? Well, it's all about the stories you tell—the authentic, raw, and real narratives that connect emotionally. The ones that show not just what you do, but why you do it.
In this article, we show you how to articulate, celebrate, and amplify your brand's purpose.

Let's get started.

Purpose is the heartbeat of your brand

Let's decode that a bit—when we say ‘Purpose is the heartbeat of your brand,’ we're talking about the living, breathing essence that fuels every decision and action.

Take, for instance, John Lewis & Partners, a brand renowned for its commitment to quality, customer service, and employee ownership. Their purpose goes beyond selling; it's about creating a sense of belonging and trust with their customers and staff. This is seen in their transparent pricing, high-quality products, and the partnership model that gives every employee a stake in the company's success.

And it’s these actions that make their purpose palpable, showing that it's not just about the products they sell but about building a community built on mutual respect and shared success.
And here’s the thing…

Every single business has a purpose, whether it recognises it or not. It could be as grand as revolutionising an industry or as simple as bringing joy through thoughtful goods.

You're already making a difference, whether you're:

  • Making someone's day easier with your product or service.

  • Saving people time so they can focus on what matters most to them.

  • Helping someone achieve a long-held goal or dream.

The art is in how you use this purpose to tell your authentic story. It's not about grand gestures or flashy campaigns. It's about connecting, one human to another, about why you exist and what you stand for.

The benefits of finding your purpose

Here are the key benefits of your brand’s purpose: 

It elevates brand perception: Look at Waitrose & Partners. Their dedication to sustainability, such as aiming for all own-brand products to be eco-friendly by 2023, showcases their leadership in environmental responsibility. 

It drives innovation: It pushes you to to explore new territories. For example, a commitment to reducing waste might lead a food company to develop new, eco-friendly packaging solutions. 

It strengthens employee engagement: Your employees are not just working for a paycheck but are part of a larger mission, whether it's improving health, advancing education, or championing sustainability. This sense of belonging and contribution boosts morale, productivity, and retention.

It expands your market reach: It's not just about what you're selling but what you stand for. Attracting customers who might not have engaged with your brand otherwise.

It’s time to figure out your why

Here are the key questions to discover purpose, each designed to peel back layers and reveal the core of what makes your brand uniquely you.

  1. Why did you start? Your origin story is a goldmine of insights. Was there a gap you saw, a problem no one was addressing, or a passion that wouldn't let go? This is where your purpose begins.

  2. What are your strengths? Look at what you do best. These are the building blocks of your purpose, showing how you can make a unique impact.

  3. What legacy do you want to leave? Imagine looking back from the future. What mark do you want your brand to have made? This vision can guide your purpose, shaping your actions and decisions today.

  4. What problems are you solving? Every business solves a problem. Understanding the deeper implications of these solutions can shine a light on your purpose, revealing how you make life better for your customers.

  5. How do you want to change the world or your industry? Big or small, every brand has the power to effect change. Identifying the change you aspire to make can clarify your purpose, aligning your brand with a greater good.

  6. What benefits do your customers seek? Your purpose should resonate with the needs and desires of your customers. Understanding what truly matters to them can help shape a purpose that's both meaningful and impactful.

Answering these questions is how you get to the heart of your brand. And once you've uncovered your why, articulating it becomes the next exciting step.

Being your authentic self

So, you've done the soul searching and unearthed your brand's purpose. What's next? It's time to bring that purpose to life, making it the driving force behind everything you do.
Here's how you can transform your newfound purpose into actions that resonate with your audience and reinforce your brand's identity.

Embed your purpose in your brand story: Start by integrating your purpose into the narrative of your brand. This isn't just about stating your purpose; it's about showing it in action through your products, services, and customer experiences. Make your purpose the storyline that runs through all your communications, from your website to your social media posts.

Make purpose-driven decisions: Let your purpose guide your business decisions. Whether it's choosing sustainable materials, engaging in community projects, or how you treat your employees, every choice should reflect your brand's commitment to its purpose.

Build a culture that’s aligned with your purpose: Your team should be the biggest ambassadors of your brand's purpose. Encourage a company culture that embodies your purpose in daily operations. When your team believes in and lives out the brand's purpose, it shines through in customer interactions and the quality of your offerings.

Measure and communicate impact: Set clear metrics to measure how your brand is living up to its purpose, be it through environmental sustainability, social impact, or customer satisfaction. Regularly communicate these achievements to your audience, reinforcing your brand's commitment to its purpose.

Stay true and adaptable: Living your brand's purpose is an ongoing journey. Stay true to your core values, but be open to evolving your approach as your business grows and the world changes. This adaptability ensures your brand remains relevant and continues to make a meaningful impact.

Here at NU, we believe that a brand's purpose is its most powerful asset. It's what sets you apart and defines your place in the market. Are you feeling inspired to uncover the deeper meaning behind your brand?
We've got something special to help you on your journey—a brand toolkit, created with care and brimming with insights to define your purpose.
And guess what? It's on us. Yes, free!

Get in touch today to see how you can unlock your brand's true potential and take the first step towards transforming your business today.


How does a London-based creative agency integrate purpose into global brand strategies?

In a city renowned for its cultural diversity and historical richness, a London-based creative agency excels at weaving purpose into global brand strategies. These agencies leverage London's unique position as a global creative hub to create compelling narratives that resonate deeply with audiences worldwide. By focusing on purpose-driven branding, they help businesses articulate their core values and missions in ways that connect meaningfully with consumers, setting the stage for long-lasting brand loyalty and impact.

Why is partnering with a web design agency critical for creating a purpose-driven online presence?

A web design agency is instrumental in translating your brand's purpose into an engaging online experience. They understand that a website is more than just a digital storefront; it's a platform for storytelling and connecting with your audience on a deeper level. By emphasising user-centric design principles and strategic content alignment, these agencies ensure that every aspect of your website—layout to language—reflects your brand's mission, values, and commitment to making a difference and amplifying your purpose online.

How can a graphic design agency help communicate my brand's purpose visually?

Graphic design agencies
play a pivotal role in visually articulating your brand's purpose, ensuring that every visual element conveys your message powerfully and cohesively. Through thoughtful design choices, from colour schemes that evoke the right emotions to typography that speaks to your brand's character, they create visuals that embody your brand's ethos. This visual alignment with your brand's purpose strengthens your identity and builds a genuine connection with your audience, enabling your purpose to shine through every interaction.

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