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3 ways to maximise the impact of your brand purpose

Recently I had a conversation with a purpose-driven start-up that is struggling to break through. Their product challenges the codes of the industry they are playing in. In theory, a bold idea that has the potential to make a big impact.

So why are they not rallying the right clients?

For any brand aiming to make a positive impact, it all starts with your brand purpose; the reason why your brand exists in the world.

Whilst our start-up is clear on the impact they want to have, they have not yet been able to articulate a purpose in a way that engages their clients emotionally.

The conversation went something like this:

“Ok, we understand we need to do the work to really nail our brand purpose. But what do we then do with it? How can we ensure that it comes to life and that we engage our customers behind it?”.

Aha! The magic question.

How do you make sure that your purpose becomes your brand’s heartbeat and not just a sexy statement that lives on an internal document buried somewhere on your computer? Or worse, gets communicated but not acted upon.

As purpose is an ongoing journey that needs to be navigated, let me share three sailing analogies to bring the three ways you can use your purpose to drive positive impact to life.

  1. Purpose as your North Star

A purpose-driven brand is a brand that makes a positive impact by profitably solving the problems of people and planet.

To do so, your brand purpose acts as your North Star, a guiding light for what your brand stands for, how it acts, innovates and communicates.

Focusing on product benefits will only get you competing with the bigger players who have more resources than you. But connecting with a community that cares about your brand’s purpose will make you stand out.

The stories that you tell should therefore bring that purpose to life. And every action that your brand takes should be authentically guided by that purpose.

But it is not only about how YOU act as a brand, but also about the action that you inspire others to take.This is the fundamental difference between brands that break through and brands that don’t.

If you want to create an emotional connection and really engage clients behind your brand purpose, you need to make THEM the hero of the story.

Find out what your clients care about and why they care about it. Then enable them to make the difference in the world that they want to make by engaging with your brand and contributing to its purpose.


Patagonia’s purpose is to “save our home planet”. They inspire their community to act through the Action Works program, an activist program which pairs you with local environmental grassroots organisations. They also encourage repairing by offering free lifetime repairs and reusing through the platform, which enables you to buy and sell secondhand Patagonia gear.

Dove’s purpose is to “change beauty”. Since the Real Beauty campaign in 2004, they have continued to challenge the unattainable standards of the beauty industry. Their latest campaigns highlight the dangers of social media on young women’s mental health, and they invite concerned mothers to sign petitions to take legal action to protect their daughters.

Tony’s Chocolonely’s purpose is to “make all chocolate 100% slave free”. To achieve this, they have a three-part roadmap: 1. they create awareness about slavery in the cocoa industry; 2. they lead by example by making their supply chain fully transparent and paying above fair wage; and 3. they inspire to act by actively seeking partners who would be interested in applying their transparent model.

  1. Purpose as your Anchor

As recent years have shown us, there are times when brands will have to react to external events that are outside of their control. However, one brand cannot, and should not, aim to take a stand for all the world’s problems.

In today’s volatile world, your purpose can act as your anchor, a safeguard in times of crisis. It keeps you focused as to what and when your brand must react and how to navigate more challenging times.

There are some events that will require you to speak up, for risk of being called out. Just look at Nestlé taking too long to communicate on its position when the war in Ukraine broke out. Zelensky personally called them out in a public address to the Swiss population.

Other times, it may be right to stay silent. If your brand purpose is not at all focused on a particular issue that is getting media attention, it may not be the right choice to act.


The Ikea group’s immediate response to the war in Ukraine showed incredible agility. Not only did they quickly announce a € 30M fund for humanitarian organizations supporting civilians through the crisis, but Ikea also organised ongoing support such as primary in-kind donations (including beds, mattresses, toys and other furniture), support with logistics, infrastructure and trucks. Additionally, they made IKEA-owned accommodations available for people affected by the war. Their actions were all perfectly in line with Ikea’sbrand purpose of “creating a better everyday life for the many people”.

Arçelik, a Turkish multinational household appliances manufacturer, reacted to the devasting earthquake in Turkey by providing both immediate aid in the form of a search and rescue team, humanitarian aid consisting of tents, food, blankets and clothing, as well as priority items such as heaters, stoves and refrigerators that they prepared using old washing machine drums. They also created Arçelik Fixed Support Points for food, hygiene and clean clothing needs in the region.

Whilst many brands responded to the Black Lives Matter movement, Nike’s poignant message showcased their authentic stand for equality and their work to break down barriers for athletes all over the world. The campaign, with the tagline “For once, don’t do it” showcased their commitment to do and invest more to support the Black community and partner with world-class organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice, and greater access to education.

  1. Purpose as your Propeller

Beyond guiding and anchoring your brand in all its actions and communication, your purpose can also act as a propeller to becoming an industry leader.

By thinking about your purpose as solving the biggest challenges that your industry faces, your brand can lead the way for others to follow.

Ask yourself: what frustrates you the most about your industry?  And what change does your brand exist to make?

By bringing new solutions that challenge the status quo and leading the way for others to follow, your purpose can drive the entire industry forward.


Whilst many luxury brands are asking themselves “how do we talk sustainability to the luxury consumer?”, luxury watch brand iD Genève is reinventing the meaning of luxury in today’s world. Their watches are made of 100% recycled materials and their purpose is not only to impact the watch industry but to put luxury at the centre of the ecological transition by changing consumers’ perception of recycled materials.

Back in 2004, Dove changed the face of the beauty industry with its Real Beauty campaign. For the first time, a brand featured real women, of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, in its advertising. The industry was challenged to its core and has since evolved to the point where brands such as Prada have been called out for using models that look too thin.

Patagonia CEO, Ryan Gellert, was quoted saying “our biggest contribution has not been the money we have given away. It has not been the individual issues that we have advocated for or scaling grassroots environmental activism. Our biggest contribution has been proving that businesses can exist to do more than maximise the wealth of their owners, really consistently proving that over decades in ways both big and small.”


The first step on your positive impact journey is getting crystal clear on your brand purpose. Once you have articulated it, there are three ways that you can use your purpose to drive positive impact:

  1. Your purpose is your North Star, a guiding light for how your brand acts, innovates, and communicates. But remember, it is not just about the actions that your brand takes, but about the actions your brand inspires in others. Make your clients the hero of the story by enabling them to have the impact that they want to have in the world.
  2. Your purpose is your anchor in the volatile world we live in. It is a safeguard to navigate what, how and when your brand should react to external events which are outside of your control.
  3. Your purpose is a propeller to becoming an industry leader. Through your purpose, your brand can lead the way for others, bringing new solutions that challenge the status quo and driving the entire industry forward.

In short, your purpose will guide you on your journey, protect you through choppy waters and propel you as a leader as you navigate towards a more sustainable world.

The butterfly movements - illustrative picture

Whenever you are ready to take your brand to the next level, here are three ways I can support you.

  1. Sign up to The Butterfly Movements free community and get your copy of our purpose guide.

Join other purpose-led founders and pioneers and get weekly inspiration, access to articles, videos shorts and masterclasses as well as a free guide to help you nail your brand purpose:

  1. Contact me for a brand audit to define the key areas that will make the biggest difference for your brand to break through.

I will assess your brand using our unique framework and define actionable next steps to drive immediate impact.

  1. Break through to your brand’s next level of impact by signing up for one of our brand strategy packages.
  • Brand positioning package: articulate your brand purpose and develop your brand positioning to set it apart from the competition.
  • Brand story package: express your unique brand story to rally the right clients and investors.
  • Marketing strategy package: define your ideal clients, brand offering and marketing strategy to grow your brand’s reach and impact.

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