Attributes of Remarkable Brands | Purposeful

I talk a lot around here about remarkable brands. I also realize that’s fairly vague.

As I’ve worked with hundreds of brands and studied hundreds more, I’ve become very aware of a handful of traits (literally…a handful…five) that the most remarkable brands share.

Purposeful | Authentic | Responsive | Empowering | Transparent

These are the backbone of every remarkable brand on the planet. Brands that don’t have these five characteristics – or are not at least actively and consistently striving to live out these five – cannot become remarkable.

Yes, there are certainly other characteristics found in remarkable brands. In fact, I’d argue there better be more, as every brand should have unique qualities and traits that reflect their unique views, leadership, culture, and behavior.

But these five traits are foundational. And if you want your brand to stand out and rise above the rest, these five characteristics MUST be a part of your brand strategy and execution. Over the next month, we’re going to take a closer look at each trait and break them down. First up: Purposeful.

Number 1: Purposeful

Or “purpose-driven”…or “mission-driven”.

Remarkable brands are built on a foundational purpose that drives their existence and continuance. They work hard to make a direct link between that purpose and every activity in their organization: from sales calls to customer support responses. Every ad campaign and product development project…everything is clearly tied to the purpose.

Having a purpose provides direction to your entire organization – even to your customers, partners, vendors, and other stakeholders. It’s critical to the success and remarkability of the brand. The more powerful your purpose, the more passionately people support your brand.

So what kind of purpose are we talking about?

Well, the spectrum is huge. Some remarkable brands find their purpose in a technical passion that drives their products.

Look at a brand like Apple, combining technical expertise and product excellence with a vision for how people should interact with technology. Their purpose finds its roots in the philosophy that technology and human beings should intermix (and that technology is not an end in itself but a means for humans to fulfill their dreams and accomplish their goals).

Another example: let’s look at Patagonia. Their driving mission is to provide quality products for outdoor enthusiasts that are as environmentally sustainable as possible. They are driven in this mission to continually look for new and better ways to live out this mission – from partnering with the most sustainably-minded farms to redeveloping whole product lines for better functionality.

Great brands have vision.

Clearly, it’s not enough to simply have a purpose.

Many remarkable brands have a visionary element to their purpose. The purpose outlines a happy ending – a hope for the future for humanity, for their tribe, or for their industry.

They state not just how the world is but how it (even the smallest portion) could be changed for the better.

Great brands are committed.

Remarkable brands are committed to their purpose. It has to be well-communicated, understood completely, and integral in every decision – every department. (That’s why authenticity is my second “trait” in remarkable brands.)

In some sense, your purpose becomes a mantra that your tribe can rally around. There is a high level of focus – singular energy – put towards defining it, practicing it, living, and breathing it every day.

But what about growth?

A mission statement does not limit growth. A purpose provides clarity and direction for growth (not a hindrance to it). It becomes a guiding star for decision making.

When a clear sense of purpose is driving the culture of a brand, everyone’s everyday decisions are easier. The best options are pretty clear when you have a solid framework.

Not only do purpose-driven brands inspire their teams and partners, they delight customers. These brands invite customers into the purpose and vision that they may never have realized on their own.

This community creation deepens relationships between the brand and customers – centered around the shared purpose. Deeper relationships provide greater opportunities to share experiences together. Customers who find shared purpose and experiences with brands are much more likely to be loyal and generous in their public praise, inviting more people into the community.

Does your brand have a purpose? It’s not always easy to articulate, so if you need help let us know.

And are there brands that you follow who have a compelling purpose? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.