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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Butler-Madden

How to put purpose at the centre of your brand

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

How to put purpose at the centre of your brand

Brand Positioning has to be the starting point for developing a meaningful purpose-driven business.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small, medium or large business, your brand represents your business to the world. And yes, even small businesses have a brand.

One idea that seems to be quite prevalent is that you can just frame a purpose statement, tack it on to your brand and overnight your organisation has become “purpose-led”.

I’ve heard stories where copywriters have been briefed on the purpose statement, with instructions to make sure a certain word or words are included. That’s clearly trying to retrofit a purpose to an existing product or service.

Do not kid yourself. This is a very superficial approach to purpose and will not deliver the foundations you need to become a purpose-driven organisation. There are significant financial benefits to becoming a “purposeful” business, not to mention the emotionally fulfilling benefits and the ripple effect that creates. But In order for your organisation to be in a position to enjoy these benefits, your foundation for purpose needs to be rock solid.

Brand Positioning is your foundation.

My strong belief is that the idea behind your purpose statement has to come from within the organisation itself. Purpose has to exist at the heart centre of your brand. From this position it directly impacts and flows through to other important elements of your brand.

Through my work over the last few years, I’ve developed a framework to be able to define your purpose, articulate it and embed it into your brand. The Brand Purpose Blueprint is a one-page framework. When it is developed properly, its structure provides a simple yet powerful way to build the architecture for a purposeful brand with authenticity, clarity and confidence.

Through my own client experiences, I’ve learnt that everything changes when people understand what an authentic purpose can look like for an organisation. It is almost always experienced as a breakthrough. I’ve seen tears of joy (yes, even in corporate boardrooms), excitement, wonder, a palpable collective energy. Everything changes. Because before that, most people think that defining a purpose statement is just another functional exercise for their business.

It’s not. It’s emotional.

Purpose is an organisation’s North Star. The more it relates to a meaningful change in the world that people care about, the more potent it is.



Here’s how we start.

Step 1: We start with WHO. Defining your “People Like Us”.

Every business has an identity. It may not be super clear to you what your organisation’s identity is, but make no mistake, there is a narrative that runs through your organisation, as clear as day turns to night.

If you’re looking at starting a new business, starting with “Who” is just as important as it is for an existing business. Because “who” you are - the narrative or world view that drives your identity (the one you bring into your new business)– will ultimately drive why you exist and what you stand for.

When you get clarity on who are your People Like Us. You are one step closer to being able to identify a powerful higher purpose.

Step 2: Brand Personality

Your brand personality determines how you show up and how you behave.

The three elements that make up personality in the Brand Purpose Blueprint are:

1. Brand Archetypes 2. Brand Voice and Tone 3. Brand Values

Step 3: VM2P Pyramid

Now we start getting into the heartland of Purpose. VM2P stands for Vision, Mission, Purpose, Promise.

These four elements structurally and emotionally enable you to build your Purpose Statement and ensure it is related equally to the change you want to create in the world and the no-fail commitment you make to your customers through your products or services

Step 4: Brand Positioning

The two elements of Brand Positioning that we develop here cover both the rational and the emotional.

For the rational, we get clear on our Customer Value Proposition.

For the emotional, our Brand Story brings to life the story of our Purpose. We use a simple and highly effective framework to build a compelling and emotional brand story to resonate with your People Like Us; to inspire and engage all of your stakeholders around your business or brand purpose, how it came about and inviting them to become a part of the movement for change.

Step 5: Social Impact

Once you have clarity on your Purpose, you need to have clear and timely goals to ensure your Purpose drives action. These should be measurable and if possible, aligned with the United Nations Global Goals and targets.


These five steps provide the strong foundations of a purpose-led or a “purposeful” brand. It’s the starting point, but I want to be clear that doing this brand work alone is worth nothing if it doesn’t go on to inspire action.

I’m probably going to sound like a broken down record player right now, but bottom line... the thing that determines a purpose-led brand or business is the action it takes to achieve the change it is committed to delivering. The Brand Purpose Blueprint simply provides the foundations of your future actions.


FREE WEBINAR - How to put Purpose at the centre of your brand

Thursday Aug 26th, 12:30am - 1:30am (AEST)

Action is the single-most fundamental characteristic of being a purpose-led business. Your Brand Positioning establishes the foundation for the action your organisation will take towards the change you are committed to achieving.

I want to help you take this action. So on the Thursday the 26th of August, I’m going to be diving into these 5 steps in more depth through our free webinar- How to put purpose at the centre of your brand. We’ll be building on the foundations we’ve covered in this blog and how you can action them, so you can start getting your business on a path to purpose.

This webinar is part one of a six part webinar series covering the six pillars of purpose. Sign up to all six and we'll throw in a free copy of our book Path to Purpose. You can also register for individual webinars.

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