Skip to main content
Move the World.

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.

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."

Magatte Wade

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.

For more interesting news about the people and ideas that are changing our world, subscribe to Freethink.

Up Next

Challengers
What Can We Learn From an Entrepreneur Whose Business Failed?
What Can We Learn From an Entrepreneur Whose Business Failed?
Challengers
What Can We Learn From an Entrepreneur Whose Business Failed?
Luke Kenworthy put everything he had into making his business work. But it didn't pan out. Now he's sharing what he...
By Mike Riggs

Luke Kenworthy put everything he had into making his business work. But it didn't pan out. Now he's sharing what he learned through it all.

Art
Tattoo Shy? No Problem. These Tats Are Made to Fade
temporary tattoo ink
Art
Tattoo Shy? No Problem. These Tats Are Made to Fade
Ephemeral launched the first-ever made-to-fade tattoo ink, allowing people to get tattoos without committing to them for the rest of their lives.

Ephemeral launched the first-ever made-to-fade tattoo ink, allowing people to get tattoos without committing to them for the rest of their lives.

Innovation
The Edible Six Pack Ring That's Saving Marine Animals
The Edible Six Pack Ring That's Saving Marine Animals
Watch Now
Innovation
The Edible Six Pack Ring That's Saving Marine Animals
18 billion pounds of plastic are dumped in the ocean every year. This microbrewery created biodegradable six pack rings to help stem the tide.
Watch Now

Saltwater Brewery was a regular microbrewery that made great craft beer - packaged with the usual plastic six pack rings. As fishermen who saw firsthand the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean, though, they felt they needed to make a change to help marine animals. They came up with the idea to create edible six pack rings made of biodegradable materials left over from the brewing process. Now, they’ve created a new...

Dispatches
Self-driving Uber Fatality: Video Shows Tech Failure & Human Error
Self-driving Uber Fatality: Video Shows Tech Failure & Human Error
Dispatches
Self-driving Uber Fatality: Video Shows Tech Failure & Human Error
The only way to make self-driving cars safer is to take the risk of more testing.

The only way to make self-driving cars safer is to take the risk of more testing.