In part one of this series, we looked at identity as the foundation of building a great brand. Discovering your identity is a combination of understanding who you are and whom you serve. Discovering who you are is a combination of unlocking your superpower and realizing what gives you the greatest joy.

The best brands have at their core intentional leaders who know who they are, how they're wired, and possess a genuine passion for their customers. 

The next building block in Syrup's clarity process is Purpose.

Where Identity starts with "the who" and "for whom," purpose builds with "the why."  Simon Sinek's Ted Talk on the subject is so meaningful and on point, it's hard to start anywhere else.

I love how this chart from Jake Nielson highlights the different path the follower, or customer, travels then that of the organization or leader as you bring your product or service to market.  The customer might engage from the "outside-in," but a healthy brand operates from the "inside out." The reality is that "with purpose, a company can create positive value that is far greater than the sum of its parts." 

However, many of our organizations will never realize that synergy. There is a hard truth that we need to address; A lot of us are afraid to really talk about the purpose of our organization. We're afraid to write down our vision, mission statement, or list our core values. I've seen organizations that print their mission statement on a flag and raise it for all the stakeholders to salute. In contrast, I've seen many organizations that refuse to even take a half-day to think about these things. While some organizations clearly articulate the why of their existence, others create such broad statements that they are absolutely useless.

Why are we afraid to identify our true purpose? I have a simple theory: We're afraid it's going to cost us money, and we're right! It will cost you the wrong money, and be an invaluable asset to earning more of the right money. There's a huge difference between the two. We'll talk about this more when we focus on uniqueness, but you can't be all things to all people. The more you focus on the right opportunities, the more effective you will be.

I talked to Sarah Lee, Syrup's Brand Strategist, about the role of Purpose to building a great brand. 

Purpose is the lens an organization can hold up to an opportunity to decide if it’s the right fit for the company. It helps a brand stay clear of distractions from what they’re best able to do and whom they’re best able to serve. That’s why we help organizations make their mission statements, values, and vision as specific as possible.
— Sarah Lee, Syrup Marketing

The value of a well-articulated and specific purpose is that it simultaneously keeps you aimed in the right direction as you avoid the fool's gold of opportunities you're not best suited to pursue. It helps you avoid the toxic customers that are a drain to your internal resources. When you know your identity and purpose, you're much less likely to pursue toxic customers. In our company, our goal is to systematically grow our client's businesses. Part of that process is great marketing campaigns, but we reject the idea of marketing as just a handoff to sales. What's the point of great marketing campaigns to acquire customers if we're going to stop talking to them once they're acquired?

We believe in a customer journey that starts with marketing, but it isn't completed until your best customers are championing you to the marketplace. Can any relationship be sustained without communication? Because we know our purpose, we avoid opportunities to work with companies that won't allow us to serve in this way. When companies just want lead generation, but they aren't committed to the post-sale experience, we know they're a bad fit for our team. When they are just looking for a quick fix or "sugar rush" but don't want a system to make sure that no customer falls through the cracks, we know we're not best suited to serve them. Because we know our purpose, we avoid opportunities to work with companies that are not committed to long-term relationships with their customers. Because of this filter, we have great customer retention, and our team is ready to go to war for our clients.  

Imagine if your company was focused with laser-like precision on the right opportunities because it wasn't distracted by the wrong ones. Imagine the culture you could build if you knew who you are, whom you served, and why you served them. I have good news. It's not too late!  Make this year the year your company operates from a clear, meaningful purpose and watch what it does for your brand.