The Brand Mine

Purpose + Passion = Performance

Brands, like people, that have a clear purpose, lived out passionately are healthier, more vital and engaging. The result is better business, motivated employees and more customer engagement.

Tap in to the Potential of Purpose to Help Your Brand Thrive

Adapted from an article by Joe Sullivan, CEO Market Insights


So what does purpose mean in terms of  a brand or an organization? Let’s first look at it from a first-hand, individual standpoint. What motivates you to get out of bed each day? What’s your purpose? To yourself? To your family? To your friends? To your employer? To your co-workers? Purpose does not need to be big and bold. It simply needs to be yours. So choose a purpose, something that will animate you to get up and going every day.

Any number of medical studies point to the fact that people with a purpose live longer. Think about someone in your own family — perhaps an uncle or grandmother, a dad or grandfather — who worked their entire life. When retirement day arrived, did they seem deflated, uncertain what to do with their time? Perhaps they had lost their sense of purpose, and there was nothing in line to take its place? In many such cases, a person’s physical health will actually begin to deteriorate. An individual’s personal sense of purpose can keep them vital, engaged and alive. The same can be said for organizations.

Organizations with purpose also live longer. They survive shifts in the market, and their brand remains relevant to consumers. Your brand will barely be noticed by the consumer if your purpose is all about profit. Your purpose should inspire, drive innovation and unify your internal culture.

Why do Apple, Google and IBM consistently rank among the strongest brands in the world? These brands wield such tremendous power because their organizations have purpose. Apple’s external message and internal structure is organized around “think different,” an invitation for people to create their world through self expression. Google focuses on the ideal of liberating people through the universal availability of information. IBM has embraced the purpose of helping create a “smarter planet.” These companies connect a clear sense of purpose with their audience, while setting them apart from competitors. Moreover, they tangibly express their brand purpose through their internal culture, something evidenced in the behavior of every employee.

The Harvard Business Review recently explored the concept of “Collective Ambition” within organizations. Simply put, it’s why an organization exists — its reason d’etre — what it hopes to accomplish, how internal team members collaborate, and how the organization’s brand promise aligns with core values.

This alignment is real, and the results tangible. In fact, according to one study, fully engaged organizations with a clear internal culture outperform others by 33% in customer retention, and outpace competitors in sales growth by 51% annually.



Passion can take many forms: zeal, enthusiasm, excitement, fervor, etc. Whatever you want to call it, passion is the key ingredient. It’s contagious. It’s what gets people united around a common cause, building momentum for your purpose.

Embrace your passion, even if you think it has nothing to do with your job, because it actually does. As you express your passion, you discover newfound vigor that transfers energy to other parts of your life — both personal and professional.

The power of passion can be demonstrated through the story behind Clif Bars, a healthy sports nutrition bar created by an avid backpacker named Gary Erickson. In 1992, he was living in a garage with his dog and a pair of skis as his only possessions. On his quest to create a sports bar without all the bad oils and fats, he experimented with various concoctions in his mother’s kitchen until he found the magic recipe. The rest, as they say, is history.

The opportunity to sell the company presented itself. He and his partner agreed that they would sell the company for approximately $120 million to a large food conglomerate. But the morning of the closing of the transaction, Gary realized he didn’t want to sell the company, and couldn’t go through with the deal. His partner still wanted to go through with it however, and expected $60 million. So Gary put himself $60 mil in debt.

He candidly approached his employees, sharing his vision of an independent company. But in order for that strategy to succeed, it would take everyone’s support, ideas, long hours and passion. With the commitment of employees — hikers, runners, health nuts and sports enthusiasts who were themselves passionate about Clif Bars — the company was able to prevail. Employees were drawn to work at Clif Bar because aligned with their own passions. Gary knew that a passionate employee is an engaged employee.


A shared sense of collective passion can engage customers in ways that reshape perceptions about your institution.. Studies suggest as much as two-thirds of a company’s profits hinge on enthusiastic employees effectively engaging consumers.

Key Takeaways

Profit is not your purpose. Find your purpose and let it guide everything you do.

Your purpose is what keeps you (and your business) active, engaged and vital.

Your purpose is unique to you. That’s what makes it difficult to duplicate, and what will set you apart from your competitors.

Your purpose is at the center of your brand position.

Passion animates your purpose and brings it to life.

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