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Finding Your Why: The Power of Purpose in Business

May 5, 2017
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Today’s consumers are looking for companies that provide much more than just products and services. They want to connect with companies that are giving back. Sure they want great products that make them feel cool, but they also have a deep desire for social change. This is why ABLE, Warby Parker and the like have been able to create so much more than just fashion. They’ve tapped into our cultures deep desire to for purpose.

In 2019 trust in brands is down and expectations of social responsibility from brands is up among consumers, according to the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report.

On average, just 34% of consumers say they trust most of the brands they buy and use; in some markets, like France and Germany, that figure is less than 25%. At the same time, consumers ranked brand trust as one of the top factors they consider when making a purchase, with 81% of survey respondents saying that they “must be able to trust the brand to do what is right.”

As consumers become more socially concise, business owners and marketers need to pay attention. Looking at the success of companies like Warby Parker they didn't find a random way to give back. Their entire business model incorporates their mission.

If your business surveys suggest you need to increase consumer confidence in your company take time to consider whether you are clearly presenting your company mission clearly.  Are you launching a new company? Now is the time to dig deep and find your why and attach purpose to your business.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” —Mark Twain.

No one can tell you what your “why” is. It’s personal. But there are a few things you can do to help uncover it. Below of 4 great questions that you can ask to help determine your why.

1. What makes you come alive?

We all have something in our lives that make us feel alive. Something that bring us joy, fulfillment and excitement. This is a great way to begin to uncover your purpose.

2. What are your innate strengths?

You are natural great at some things. Lean into your strengths and find way you can use them to impact others.

3. Where do you add the greatest value?

This is more of a follow up to the question above. Most people have a few strengths, so which ones could produce the greatest value?

4. How will you measure your life?

Begin with the end in mind is a powerful exercise brought to use by Stephen Covey. Stopping and thinking about how and who you want to be remembered as will help you better define how your will measure your life.

Read more about these question in this great piece by Margie Warrell

Why This Matters

Consumers don’t trust marketing and advertising. With more people more to subscription series like Netflix and Hulu for entertainment and the advancements of ad blocking, users are finding new ways to ignore advertising. But this doesn’t mean great marketing doesn’t work. When you connect your company to a purpose that drives the your customers to buy in, you begin to tell a story the moves them.

“Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” ― Anna Lappé

This quote by Anna Lappé gets to the root of today's consumer. They are extremely conscious about what they buy and who they buy it from. Once you have your “why”, you then need to share it in a way to resonates with your audience. Authenticity and follow through are huge here. You must be able to back up what you say.

Every business should have a strong purpose. Purpose steers your company and helps make sure that everyone is heading in the same direction. It also helps your audience better understand your why. Once you’ve locked that down, you can begin to work on how you need to share your story in a way to connects on a deeper level.

Here are a few examples from some notable brands.

  • Facebook: “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
  • PayPal: “To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”
  • Tesla: “Our goal when we created Tesla a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”
  • Sony: “To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”
  • Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Each of these companies above know who they are and why they do what they do. Success is not an accident. It takes effort, creativity and purpose. Before marketing your product or service, stop and take the time to define your why. A business with purpose is one that attracts people more naturally.

How We Practice What We Teach

SMA Marketing is a global creative digital marketing agency based in Central Florida. We work with engineering and technology firms, startups and local businesses by helping them amplify their message and connect with their ideal customers. 

We are passionate about helping small business owners grow their businesses, which is why a percentage of every new retainer we sign goes in our Kiva Fund where we then use the money to extend microloans to small business owners around the world. 

As Kiva's loan recipients repay the money we lent our portion is returned to our account allowing us to re-lend the funds to new borrowers of our choosing. For transparency, every month we send an email updating our mailing list on our Kiva Fund and reporting on a loan recipient's success. Every time our team meets to lend funds we agree it's the best part of our staff meetings.  

For SMA Marketing, it makes sense that we invest in businesses because we are passionate about growing businesses. We took our time and researched the best way to make our investment stretch as far as possible and we are thrilled with our Kiva partnership. We hope that using the four questions suggested in this post you will find a partnership that makes you as happy as we are with Kiva.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May, 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. 

Ryan Shelley - Edge of the Wed - SEO

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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