Find Your Purpose. Build Your Advocates.
What is brand advocacy? Why is it important to turn customers into advocates? Where do I begin?
When what you’re selling is no longer “bought,” but “bought into.” When your company moves from a Brand to a Stand, people can stand with you. This blog shares 3 tips for helping companies create brand advocates by starting with a purpose.
I’ll start by referencing a book that inspired most of what I’m writing. I was able to see Joey Reiman speak when I worked with General Mills a few years back. His book, The Story of Purpose has been a tool I’ve turned to frequently to help clients understand that the answer to profit is purpose. Often, a business interaction with a prospect starts on the subject of tactics and execution, and I use what I’ve learned from Reiman’s book to swing them to the other end of the pendulum, centering the conversation on purpose.
1. What’s the point of Purpose?
Go to any company’s website and you’ll almost always find the “ABOUT US” tab that takes you to their mission and vision statements and list of core values. Reading them, I always find myself saying “so what?!?”. Where is the meaning in it for me the customer, or constituent, donor or volunteer? There usually isn’t. Mission and Vision statements have become something companies do to check the box, but rarely do they inspire action in others. Cue Purpose.
2. The Fruits are in the Roots.
Before an organization can create advocates, it has to know what it is advocating for. It must know what it believes in before it can ask others to believe in it too. The best place to start, believe it or not, is at your archives. If your business has been around for 100 years or 100 days, the same stands true–why the company started in the first place. What was it at the time that the founders believed was the value their good or service provided people? Even if you are just a 20 year old company, you might be thinking, “but things were so different 20 years ago.” You’re right that, culturally speaking, life is different today versus 20 years back. However, people aren’t. How we act and speak changes with culture. How we consume media and communicate with others changes based on the world around us that’s changing as well. But at our core, we don’t change. The simplest way to put it: behaviors change, values don’t.
3. How do I articulate my company’s Purpose?
Not to give away our secret sauce at Texas Creative, but the easiest way to articulate purpose is by following a fill-in-the-blank exercise:
Company X exists to ______. If you can fill in the blank, you’ve just discovered your purpose. There’s a lot of work that goes into identifying what goes in that blank, not to mention getting the powers that be to agree to it; but ultimately, it’s all about staying true to who you are (the company), where it all started, and what the organization fundamentally believes at its core.
For what it’s WORTH.
Building brand advocacy is all about proving worth. Whether your brand has something for your audience to buy, share, use, sponsor, fund, support, download, and so on, what you’re really trying to achieve is to have them place a high value on what you offer. Remember, value doesn’t mean price, it means importance. Look at the 2 definitions of the word Value:
The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
A person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
Ask yourself, “How important are my goods and services to the good and service of my customer base?”
If you stay focused on your purpose, you’ll stay true to who you are. You’ll start to matter to the people that matter to you. Ultimately, those people will stand with your brand. They’ll move from buyers to fans, fans to advocates, advocates to investors. Best of all, they’ll begin to champion your brand to others.
If you’d like to learn more about Texas Creative’s work building brand advocacy and helping companies focus on their Purpose, reach out to us, we’d love to hear from you.