Lead with purpose

Most companies are driven by an underlying purpose. A mission that gives meaning and energy to their work. By leading with purpose – expressed on your website, in your social media and at your sales meetings – you will attract clients with the same values and win more of the work you love.

Andrea

Andrea Stevens
May 2020

Illustration of signpost

People like to buy from people they relate to.

Put another way, people look for companies whose values and ideas will help them advance their own.

We all shop around for products and services, and researching digital content is one of the best ways to assess our options.

Clients try to assess whether you are the company for them and until they get the chance to meet you in person, they will pore over your website, case studies, articles and social media.

They will speak with your previous clients, compare you with other practices, and gather evidence of a good fit before they commit.

It’s a complicated process, but you can assist by publishing your work, values and ideas in engaging and creative ways.

It’s your job to show prospective clients, in ways that relate to them, how you can solve their problems and help them achieve their goals.

 

Start with purpose

Brand purpose is defined as a higher reason to exist beyond making a profit and is at the heart of your business strategy, culture, process, identity and marketing. It is a filter and a north star for decision making.

In the context of content marketing and communications, it becomes an editorial focus. It helps you develop your themes and stories. To curate the topics that grow your mission.

Start with purpose …

  • For clarity and direction.
  • To differentiate yourself in the market.
  • To attract clients on a similar mission.
  • To attract projects that are a good fit for your practice.
Purpose ven diagram

 

Purpose can be found where your IP, experience and expertise overlap with clients’ needs, drivers or challenges.

Your IP spans processes and methodologies, technology and skillsets, sector expertise, experience, and more.

The overlap between brand and client interests becomes a sweet spot for many businesses.

A brand purpose can be poetic, practical or even drill right down to one need for one client type in one sector.

 

How to work out your brand purpose

Jim Stengel, the author of the book GROW, describes five categories of brand purpose.

The first category Stengel describes is CONNECTING with the world and each other. An example for an architectural practice might be ‘to connect people with nature’.

Then there is EXPLORING new horizons. An example of this journey idea is found in Arup’s tagline ‘We shape a better world’.

The third category is evoking PRIDE and confidence. Luxury brands are often in this category. The Danish furniture brand HAY describes their ‘quality, craftsmanship and humanistic styling’ to paint a picture of beauty and elegance.

Then brands can DELIGHT people with experiences. Architectural practice Hassell, for example, sets out ‘to design places people love’.

And Stengel’s fifth category is the innovation mindset of CHALLENGING the status quo. The creative agency Possible values being bold – ‘We are not afraid to speak up, take risks or change the rules.’

While many companies do some or all of these, it’s best to tailor the most relevant and resonant idea according to your ideal client mindset, your sector, what you deliver best, and what you want to be known for.

 

Why, how, what diagram

 

Why purpose is powerful

Most professional services companies define themselves primarily by ‘what’ they do – for example, engineering, legal services, architecture.

In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek describes how a business can define its purpose and market position more powerfully by tapping into human emotions – to inspire people’s imagination with a well-worded purpose.

Instead of leading with your industry descriptor, leading with your ‘why’ drives deeper personal, employee and client engagement.

A well-worded purpose also creates a strong value proposition to help you stand out in the market and attract the clients and projects you love.


I help B2B and services companies crystalise their brand purpose and main messages in words that resonate with their target clients.

 

Andrea-copywriter

About the writer
Andrea Stevens

Andrea is an experienced writer and content strategist living in Auckland, New Zealand. She has an unhealthy obsession with her work, consuming books and podcasts about content best practice and entrepreneurship, daily. She started Folio in 2007 as the GFC hit (a feat in itself), has authored four books, been a finalist in the NZ Book Awards, written hundreds of website pages and social media posts, more captions than she'd like to remember, and some very, very long white papers. In its ten years plus, Andrea has developed Folio into a busy writing agency, attracting clients who have the same love for quality writing and brand storytelling as she has. Read more about Folio or contact Andrea directly by email – andrea (@) folio.nz.

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