Seeking purpose for brands and business

Ben Hart

What do we all stand for? There’s an increasing trend for people to seek purpose in their lives and work.

For years many of us have been busy building corporations and driving shareholder value. There’s been a lot of talk about how millennials are seeking out happiness and a reason for being a part of something other than simply the financial measures of the previous generations or for that matter personal ones related to reputation, development and growth. They are asking themselves how they might make a difference, feel worthy in doing so and are seeking roles, networks and places where this is possible.

Organisations are recognising that to attract and retain next generation of talent they need to move on swiftly from a corporate responsibility policy drafted by communications people and realised in pockets and move to establishing embedded and sustained purpose instead.

What does this really mean?

More and more brands have purposeful statements, they are certainly a lot more appealing in many instances than the more functional roles of washing whiter or driving faster. Dove talk to achieving real beauty and building self esteem, Nintendo speaks to activities for active families.

Yet a statement is just that, to realise it in actuality is so much more difficult and at the same time worthwhile. If our customers of tomorrow seek not just purpose but also authenticity then bringing these statements to life, living and breathing them creates an opportunity for brands to be genuinely resonate.

If TV, press and display advertising formats broadcast clear and compelling messages then digital is where the connection and discourse plays out. My view is this will prove out in the near future so much less about single channels (e.g. the corporate twitter account) endeavouring to represent brand and/or businesses in their entirety. The notion that people buy from people will become more prevalent. Only this time it'll be so much less about the sell and more about how people engage directly with people sharing, reinforcing and ultimately connecting with other people to ensure purpose is real and authentic.

Brands are in many ways already the sum of much expression.

This trend will accelerate. Businesses must empower their people to connect meaningfully and all over the digital landscape with consumers. If people internally and externally believe the purpose, it’s the real human conversation that is brokered around it that will be what defines future brand success in building on, and potentially relegating to the back benches, the carefully crafted and inscrutable broadcast brand story.

Digital transformation makes these kind of connections possible.

Whereas the technology is required to make it happen it's the permission, behaviours and ultimately realising the reward in a volume of many-many purpose led connections and conversations that will define brand success.

At Atmosphere we help our clients ask the right questions.

  • How many of our customer connections are related to meaningful brand purpose that entices and appeals?
  • How many of these connections inform and involve our customers in our future and better their own?
  • How much of our efforts are focused on improving our own world and business or those of our customers?
  • Should we focus less on sales and shareholder value and more on bettering our customers lives, what would our business look and feel like? Would it be more rewarding for all?

Here at Atmosphere we’re looking to lead the way and establish our own purposeful agenda. Our initial realisation of this is the launch of the Atmosphere Foundation which is initially pitched at bringing people together to support causes we care about. We’ve a lot more ideas in development and look forward to involving people in these as we develop our own brand purpose.

Ben Hart is a strategist and thought leader with a track record of success in growing digital businesses and helping brands and organisations realise the potential available to them in a world increasingly full of change.

Image Credit: Empire State - New York City by Sam valadi on Flickr

Accessed under Creative Commons license

Featured Insights
Boyhood, Oscars & insights for change leaders
Have you seen the movie Boyhood? It’s fantastic storytelling about choices and consequences. And it’s quality movie production on a mere $4 million budget. Were you disappointed it didn’t bag more Oscars? I was, but I quickly realised this was pretty predictable, and here is why: Of the 6,000 people who get to vote 70 […]
Are you too slow to win? pt. 1 Corporate culture and the new workplace
I explore several ways the first steps can be taken towards a more digitally enabled workplace in a series of posts; this being the first.
Preparing HR for change
The changes which organisations face over the coming years will be unprecedented, primarily due to how the world is transforming digitally. Is HR prepared?
How to Kick-Start Your Creativity With a Ritual
The creative director of a global agency recently told me that when she gets stuck for ideas, she stands on her desk."It literally gives me a different perspective," she says. "A bit rebellious, maybe. But it works for me." Given that Motley Crue's backstage demands include a 12-foot boa constrictor, a sub-machine gun and a […]
Why a digital change program is hard… and how to make sure it succeeds
Any successful digital change program demands one of the biggest organisational challenges - change. And people don’t like change.

Subscribe for Occasional Updates

Imagining & Delivering Better

Helping you Adapt
Building your resilience and adaptability in the face of uncertainty
Creating Value for the Future
We co-create with you meaningful value for real people
Create
Accelerating into Better
Realising your future opportunity and solving tomorrows problems
Enable

We Are Here to Help You Move Forward 

Kick Start Workshops

Kick start the next step on your journey to be future ready. Our kick start workshops are 7-10 day long mini engagements centred around a high impact workshop, delivered face to face or virtually. 

We facilitate and co-create with you a practical and actionable response to your current needs to help prepare for what's next. And align around the steps you need to take to move forward.

Atmosphere Logo
© We Are Atmosphere Ltd. All rights reserved. Registered in England and Wales.
Privacy & Cookies
arrow-right