Looking past the product: brand purpose and return on investment


With the number of people choosing which businesses to support based on the principles they were built on or the causes they support, it’s easy to see why clarifying, communicating and celebrating your business’ purpose is as important as the products or services you provide. Unfortunately, branding isn’t a popular area for investment. Its effect on returns isn’t instantly obvious, and its success isn’t easily measured. However, what it does do is support your already great product or service, and it can even weather a particularly nasty publicity storm.

Your brand is your business
And it’s a lot more than just a logo on a box, a letterhead, or a sticker on a bottle. What your business says to the world and how it acts within it is as vital as your visual identity, and when your business has a clear brand purpose, that drive in purpose can drive ROI up with it. But how?

Set yourself apart
Plenty of businesses might do what you do, or make what you make. Aside from price and quality, one factor that can set you well apart from your competitors is, you guessed it, your ‘why’. If your brand is speaking to people just a little louder about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, you’re more likely to attract people who believe in your beliefs and what you do because of them. Although the results aren’t instant, an investment into branding to communicate your purpose and inspire people who believe in it can translate into a loyal following down the line.

What goes up can easily come down
Once you’ve sang from the rooftops about your business’ reason for being, gaining – and keeping – your customers is another area in which branding can help to improve ROI. Customers are showing their loyalty to brands that support social and environmental endeavours that are close to their heart. A report by PwC in 2018 shows that 38% of UK CEOs, a percentage only on the rise, feel they’re under pressure to take a positive stance on social and political issues to build trust around their brand. Policies on inclusivity and diversity, along with environmental policies and philanthropic projects are just some of the ways businesses are working to build trust in their customers, who are more choosy than ever when picking which brands to endorse. But it’s more than just handing over a cheque to a charity every once in a while. Putting brand purpose into action means making plans well into the future, and sticking by your purpose for the long haul. Declaring your brand purpose and only implementing it for the short term can backfire with customers, and brand trust, while slowly built, is quickly destroyed. But before considering how to get people outside the office to believe in your business, start with the people already working for it.

The same goals, on the same page
By giving your business a reason to run, you can give your staff a reason to come to work in the morning. The demand for purpose from both customers and employees will rise by almost 300% by 2020, and keeping your brand purpose clear and at the front of every decision your business makes means your employees are more likely to understand their place in the business and their relationship to it. Guiding everyone towards goals and targets with clearly branded internal communications, amongst many other ways, will reinforce what you’re working towards and, most importantly, why.

For software brand SAP, a one percentage point change in employee engagement can have a £34m to £42m impact on their gross profit. While you might not be working with numbers of that scale, the message is clear. A sense of purpose for both your business and the people working for it can have real consequences.

All in all
So, while investing in branding might not raise ROI overnight, it’s an investment in the future we believe is imperative to a business’ success.

If you are ready to make the investment in branding get in touch, email michelle@studionoel.co.uk


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