While many people associate capitalism with hardline profit chasing, building a brand in today's marketplace is often most successful when it's purpose-driven. Entrepreneurs may be surprised to find that success doesn't equate to cutthroat practices; rather, it boils down to a business showing its humanity and giving back to the world in some way.
In this digital age, most markets are more competitive than ever. It's becoming increasingly difficult for entrepreneurs to determine how to build a brand that differentiates itself from competitors in a meaningful way. Building a brand that promotes positivity and creates meaningful change can be just what is needed to stand out amongst a sea of similar products.
How to Build a Brand With a Higher Purpose
A business's brand is more than just a tagline and logo. It's a public perception – the lens through which consumers will view the business. More and more shoppers today aren't just looking at which products make the most sense for their bank account, but for their ethics and worldview.
So building a brand should start with answering questions like: What is the higher purpose of this business? Is there a compelling reason for it to exist? Why should people care? Developing an impactful mission or purpose statement, (think: Dove), is crucial for success.
Subscribe to Freethink for more stories like this.
Just as important, new business leaders should spend time studying their desired market and competition. This could look like conversing with potential customers to learn about their preferences, performing audits of direct competitors, and developing a stakeholder map.
Finally, they get to develop the identity of the brand so that it represents the mission and effectively targets its audience. This includes deciding on a name, logo, color scheme, font style, brand personality, and brand voice that set the business apart. Starbucks is a perfect example.
Despite operating in one of the more flooded markets today, Starbucks successfully created a distinct and highly sought-after product. The brand's signature green siren has become the universally-recognized emblem for a premium coffee drink, and a beacon inviting customers to return again and again for a superior cafe experience.
By creating a modern and welcoming space for people to gather, Starbucks promotes a sense of community that embodies its mission statement to "inspire and nurture the human spirit–one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time."
Building a Brand That Influences Culture
Consumers often grow apprehensive in accepting new and unrecognizable brands. In fact, studies show that Americans only trust around 22% of brands today. However, when it's believed that a company contributes to a greater good, 45% of individuals stated that they would trust a company more.
This is why for entrepreneurs embarking on a new business venture, establishing a strong purpose is a must. One company that really gets this is Skin is Skin. Before starting the brand, Magatte Wade saw an opportunity for entrepreneurship to create positive change. She set out to determine how to build a brand that would promote more than just a product.
For entrepreneurs embarking on a new business venture, establishing a strong purpose is a must.
Thus, "the lip balm with a mission" was born, with the purpose of reducing racial discrimination and creating jobs in Wade's home country, Senegal. One of Forbes' 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa, Wade built on her experience creating high-end retail brands to start the premium lip balm line.
"Some companies go looking for a cause. We were a cause looking for a product," tells Wade. "It is not just a lip balm. It not only has to take care of your lips but also has to do this big job of being your conscience and at the same time, it is giving jobs to people back home in Africa."
While so many businesses view their products as a means to an end of generating revenue, Wade saw public service as the ultimate goal. Putting an end to stereotypes based on skin color is infused in everything the company does: from its branding, to where materials are sourced, to how 50% of profits are donated.
"Brands are some of the most powerful tools that we have out there to build a culture."
Rather than simply selling a lip balm, Skin is Skin offers an opportunity for customers to play their part in enacting change. The lip balm's bright and colorful packaging serves as a reminder to be mindful of personal biases.
Businesses have the power to become a force for social good in the world, and Magatte Wade is harnessing that power to leave her mark on society. "Brands are some of the most powerful tools that we have out there to build a culture," Wade says. She hopes her mission-oriented business will be a model to other entrepreneurs of how capitalism can be used as a tool for driving positive change.
The most successful entrepreneurs start their businesses not because they want to strike it rich, but because they see a problem around them which they want to fix. When both purpose and profit are made a priority, rather than one over the other, running a business is much more rewarding.