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It's a Golden Age for Brands That Fall Into This Category. Does Yours Make the Cut? In an economic world in which customers seek brands that act on their promises more than ever, it's critical to fine-tune your mission, values and community connections.

By Kimberly Highfield

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There was a time when the marketplace was simple: A person had a need, and they would select a product or service that met that need. Their selection of a particular brand was usually based on things like quality, effectiveness and reputation. But times are changing.

Today's consumers have more diverse requirements: They also care about ethics, environmental impact and what is being done for their community — they look for brands with purpose, and so those are the ones rising to the top in the current market.

Purpose is passion

If you are going to compete out there, it's vital to take a hard look at how the world views your brand. What is driving its success? Is that success level where you want it to be? Is it where it could be? Because the world is definitely looking.

Purpose is passion, so establish where the passion lies for you. If there is none behind the sales pitches and marketing strategies, you are cheating your business out of what it could be. It makes all the difference.

Related: This New Report Identifies Key Trends for Purpose-Driven Brands

What is a purpose-driven brand?

A company motivated by its mission — what it cares about and what its people care about — is purpose-driven. This is the driving force behind mission, vision, visual identity, story, decision making and a lot more, and many of the top brands we see today embrace it, including:
• Dove – Devoted to the principle that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, which fosters self-acceptance and body positivity.

• SportPort Active – Activewear inspired by social causes.

• Crayola – With its ongoing mission of inspiring "creatively-alive kids," and with commitments to both diversity and inclusion.

Sometimes a purpose is a whisper, other times it's a roar, but it always drives the brand to be more than just a peddler of wares — to become part of a solution to a problem, in a world full of them.

Why do brands need purpose?

Sure, a company mission-equipped in this way will likely get more sales and attract more customers, but if its purpose is just a marketing tool, all that won't last. Consumers will catch on. They aren't dumb: Eventually, they see through the façade — the shiny advertising and disingenuous statements — and come to realize that instead of taking the beauty queen with a heart of gold to the prom, they were really taking a shallow shell with no substance. Consumers want more.

Brands need purpose because it makes them relevant beyond what they sell, but also because it provides stability and fuels longevity. Marketing campaigns will come and go and ultimately be forgotten, but purpose is ongoing (and not easily forgotten). Marketing may be tied into it, but it's not all there is to it. A purpose-driven brand has more to stand on, and consumers will remember it for that reason: Purpose drives loyalty.

Related: 3 Steps to Forge Your Company's Purpose-Driven Path

Multidimensional benefits

Purpose-driven branding is important not just because it describes benefits to the community, the world and/or helps someone in need, but also because it makes people feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves. They enjoy the feeling that when they purchase something, their money will do more than just line the pockets of a CEO. Sure, they will get their goods and services, but will also become a part of a movement.

In a recent study by Deloitte Insights, consumers said they choose a brand based on certain factors that have nothing to do with sales, and among the foremost were:

• How the company treats the people it employs (28%).

• How it treats the environment (20%).

• The degree to which it supports the community where it operates (19%).

Brand purpose lets customers see beyond the splashy marketing campaigns, the TV ads and even its products in the marketplace: You allow them to see the core, the heart of the company… the humanity behind it, and this includes the people driving it and why they are inspired. It makes customers and employees alike want to do more, to be more and believe that they just might have a shot at changing the world.

Kimberly Highfield

Founder of SportPort™

Kim Highfield merges the worlds of high fashion and modern technology and has set a growing trend of high-performance fabrics, patented technologies and exclusive designer styling. A prolific speaker and motivator, Highfield shares her unique insights on how to lead a purpose-driven brand.

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