Tangible Benefits of Mission Based Branding

I talk a lot about the importance of BE->LIVE->SHARE for your business and brand:

  • Be Your Mission: start with Why, clarify your Mission, core values and principles
  • Live Your Mission: align your Mission to your business/vocation and get your tribe on board
  • Share Your Mission: create the right message and step up and share your Mission with the world

But how about real life tangible business benefits to Mission-Based Branding?

There are many reasons that Mission-Based Branding makes good business sense. Here are the top 5 C’s of Mission Based Branding:

1. Clarity: Starting from the top, when the Founders and CEO are clear about their Mission and their Why, it provides a strong foundation for the organization. Without a strong Why, your company will lack focus and direction, which will create losses in your employees’ time, energy and efficiency.

TOMS is a great example. Whether or not you agree with TOMS’ mission or business model, the founder Blake Mycoskie had a clear Mission and knew what he and his brand stood for from the beginning.

2. Company Culture: When you have a strong mission, you can get your whole team on board around your common goal and purpose. That creates a strong environment of trust and engagement between employees and stakeholders inside and outside of the organization. Strong company culture translates to happier, more active employees, so turnover is lower and you lose less in sick/unproductive time.

Starbucks is a perfect example of a company whose baristas have fun working there, while having the opportunity to complete their studies on the corporate dime, and they’ve created a strong corporate culture around their mission. Sure the company’s mission may have gotten fuzzy along the way, but we know that Starbucks stands for not only the ambiance but also helping to develop sustainable and green business practices.

3. Connection: A company with a strong Mission creates interaction and connection with its fans, followers and clients. This creates loyalty with consumers coming back for more. And you can easily measure client loyalty.

Apple seems to do this right. Apple fans wait in line for hours to get a new iPhone, they swear that their Macs are better than PCs, and they feel cool sporting an apple sticker on their laptop. How many other brands can say the same?

4. Consistency: With a strong Mission, Why and direction from within, you can begin to create a strong, consistent message externally. When you have your internal compass as a baseline, it’s easier to know when you’re aligned or out of alignment and base your decisions that way. Similarly, you can gauge all messaging, advertising, communications, promotion etc. against your core Mission.

Warby Parker, similar to TOMS, has its one-for-one business model, but is even simpler than TOMS. Its core business is making customized glasses, and they provide glasses for those in need in developing countries. Anything that is not aligned with this messaging is easy to see both internally and externally. Your ROI on all communications campaigns will be higher when you have a strong, consistent message.

5. Coopetition: I am a firm believer that mission-driven brands can stand on their own, are unique and differentiate themselves in the market. And there are plenty of examples to prove it. Apple, as we mentioned earlier, plus Airbnb are just two examples of market leaders, but not because they compete on pricing. They are missionaries versus mercenaries (a quote I heard Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky describe from one of his investors).

A good recent example is Lyft. When looking at its much bigger competition, Uber, after the immigration reform policy in January 2017, Lyft stood out immediately because they paid a large donation to the ACLU, while a #DeleteUber campaign erupted on social media, and soon after a sexual harassment scandal brewed from within. The Lyft founders know what they stand for (Clarity), have aligned their core mission to their business and employees (Company Culture), their clients get it (Connection), their message is in alignment (Consistency), and even as a much smaller company, they are able to stand out among their competition. Meanwhile, Uber was under investigation and being sued left and right for shady and possible illegal business practices, apart from the sexual harassment allegations. Time will tell how this will affect Uber’s investors and valuation, but there is clear evidence that they’d at least lost millions in negative PR and potentially lost clients, while Lyft had gained millions in new users (including me!) and publicity at that time.

What do you think? Do you have another C to add to the list? How has your brand used any of these principles in your business?

Feel free to share in the comments!

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