Successful businesses, associations, and non-profits are often defined by developing and maintaining a purpose-driven brand. Such an approach can yield positive results when it comes to brand recognition, public opinion, and cultivating a deep stakeholder base.
This concept is defined as an organization operating to meet a societal need. Each one is different, but creating a core purpose and communicating that purpose to customers, the general public, and other stakeholders can often be the first step in achieving both a positive reputation and financial success.
In fact, the two goals are in many ways dependent on each other.
Look no further than the iconic Ford Motor Company. More than a century ago, when automobiles were a relatively new luxury product, Henry Ford set out to manufacture “a motor car for the great multitude.”
This purpose set into motion the idea that vehicles should be widely accessible. It resulted in numerous changes to his business operations including the use of interchangeable parts, production via assembly line, and higher wages for workers – the latter of which ensured Ford’s employees were loyal to the cause.
Now a century after the Ford T Model, 92% of American households have access to at least one vehicle, according to automobile research agency ValuePenguin. And the Ford brand is universally known and profitable (especially now following some restructuring efforts).
This early 1900s PR play worked wonders for society, Ford’s reputation, and the legendary car manufacturer’s bottom line.
A more recent example of a purpose-driven brand involves a well-known entrepreneur tackling a significant issue on behalf of millions.
In 2021, billionaire businessman Mark Cuban founded a public benefit corporation dedicated to providing affordable generic drugs. The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs Company contrasts sharply from major drug retailers by charging customers the cost to manufacture the drug, plus a fixed 15% margin to cover business operations.
This serial entrepreneur is using his wealth to be a disrupter for a cause he cares about, guided by the principles of simplicity and transparency. His operation handles the pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution of medicine under one ceiling, while displaying cost rationales and comparison tools with typical industry prices.
This approach plays right into Cuban’s purpose. A problem solver at heart, Cuban saw an issue with sky-high, hidden pharmaceutical costs and stepped up to expose what he saw as an unfair pricing model. As he puts it, he saw a convoluted system of middlemen that drive up costs for average people and puts life-saving medications out of reach.
Likewise, this initiative puts a member of the billionaire class in a position to be viewed favorably by the masses who would benefit from the issue Cuban is tackling.
Having stated that his goal with this venture isn’t to make a profit, Cuban’s initiative is unique in that he can use his own wealth to make a difference. Nonetheless, Cost Plus Drugs personifies a brand that is purpose-driven at heart.
There are countless other examples of purpose-driven companies, including Patagonia and Dove. Patagonia focuses on building the best clothing product through sustainable business practices, while Dove’s longtime purpose centers around promoting self-esteem in women and girls through company advertising.
In addition to impacting positive change, companies which take a stand for an important cause attract loyal customers that ultimately boost the bottom line. Weaving this core purpose into everyday communications and outreach cements the mission into the minds of millions.
The evidence is clear that purpose-driven branding can not only have an impact on the world, but also generate positive media attention while cultivating a deep customer base.