Passion and Purpose are two dimensions of emotion that motivate us all. Passion is about finding ourselves. It is about following our interests. Purpose is about losing ourselves — in something bigger than us. It is about wanting to make a difference and do good for others. Companies that harness the power of these opposites when crafting and communicating their brands, wind up winning.
The marketplace is inundated with brands that appeal to their customer’s passion but ignore their need for purpose, leaving a gaping opportunity for brands that recognize the need for both. Purpose is the north star…a brand’s guiding light. When brands don’t communicate a sense of purpose, they are more likely to get distracted by short-termism. So when the going gets tough, they resort to another sale. But that’s a vicious cycle, and a hard way to build customer loyalty.
Patagonia is a good example of a purpose-driven brand. It’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, is a nature lover who, in the late 1950s, started building climbing gear for a few people in the Yosemite mountains. Today, Patagonia, with annual revenues exceeding $200 million, is widely recognized as being purpose driven for environmental sustainability.
But purpose often involves cost and risk. In Patagonia’s case, the company stopped making pitons, the metal spikes climbers hammered into rocks – and a mainstay in the business at the time, because they damaged the environment. They also switched their clothing to an organic cotton line. This required sourcing new products, building a new supply chain and raising the cost of their clothing. Both moves were good for the planet and, as it turned out in the long run, good for Patagonia’s bottom line.
The one-two punch is to sell something that people are passionate about, and convince them they are fulfilling their purpose by buying it from you. Fighting with one arm tied behind your back could get you knocked out.
Don’t let short-termism hold you back from finding your purpose. Ignite the goodness.