Ever wondered why Apple is one of the best loved brands? Why thousands of die-hard fans queue for hours – sometime overnight – to get their hands on a new iPhone every time a new generation is launched?
It all boils down to one word. Purpose.
According to Simon Sinek, leadership guru, motivational speaker, organizational consultant and author of the bestselling book Start With Why, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Too often, when it comes to positioning their brand, companies choose to focus on the products or services they offer and why they are better than their competitors. Falling into this trap means they will always be competing against those with counterclaims of bigger, better, faster cheaper and so on.
Sure, it’s important that your customers know about your product features and the brand’s unique selling propositions. But they do not represent the essence of the brand. Instead, it is purpose which defines the brand, and more importantly, purpose is the reason customers choose your brand over the competition and have a loyal life-long relationship with your brand.
The purpose of a brand is the “why” or the reason for existing in the first place. The “why” is what defines the essence of an organisation. It is what creates the emotional link with audiences through a set of shared beliefs, values and aspirations. Many organizations make the mistake of thinking its purpose is the same as the business goal. For example, while all commercial enterprises need to be profitable, the purpose of a brand is not to make money. Making money is something you do, not why you do it.
Again, using Apple as an example, Apple’s “why” is to “challenge the status quo and to break preconceived notions that computer products only come in plain vanilla designs. By making their products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly, Apple broke free of the pack with a clear purpose that resonated with tens of milions of computer users around the world.
Today, people don’t buy an iPhone or a Macbook or an iPad because they are superior smartphones, laptops or tablets. They make that choice because Apple’s brand purpose fulfills their own set of intangible beliefs and values. The fact that Apple makes great products is a bonus.
A company’s brand is its soul. Done well, it creates loyalty, builds trust, establishes preference and inspires praise.
So, the next time you’re in a queue to get your hands on a certain product, ask yourself: Why am I choosing this brand?
- Robert Sanjaya, Associate Director