Over the past decade, brand experts have pontificated on purpose – and how if your brand doesn’t have one, it’s doomed.
Gone are the days when you could open a shoe store on Main Street with ambitions of covering feet and making an honest day’s living.
The mall killed that, and Zappos and Amazon are killing the mall.
Main Street doesn’t NEED a shoe store, because shoes are widely available online and off.
But there are still shoes being sold on Main Street.
Because the businesses that survived found a way to weave more value into shoes – value that’s often driven by a purpose.
When the shoe store is driven by a purpose to help people walk with less pain, then it becomes less about the shoe and more about the person wearing it.
And if the painless shoe is ethically produced, using carbon-neutral manufacturing practices. Well… then it’s alleviating the pain of guilt as well.
But here’s the thing…
Lots of brands are built because something small gets a little bigger – even if there isn’t some grand foundation of purpose.
Let’s go back to the shoe example.
Perhaps you learn how to sew sandals out of recycled materials and you do it for fun as a hobby.
One day, you sell a pair to a friend. That friend tells a friend and before you know it, you have a small business.
Through leaps of faith and sleepless nights, your interest in making sandals transforms into a manufacturing facility and a team of full-time workers.
Where did you find time for the purpose along the way?
In order to build a brand with soul and scale your business, you’ll eventually need a purpose to guide you.
But you don’t have to have it all figured out at the start.
In fact, the act of nurturing your brand can bring clarity to what really matters – giving you a purpose that truly sustains you, even through the most difficult of times.
Always think about the “big wrong” your brand can help make right and make sure it’s aligned with what you actually do (more on that in a future email).
So you’re never thought of as just another shoe on a foot.