Brand purpose 101: What is brand purpose and why is it important?

The average American sees between 6,000 to 10,000 ads daily. Marketing and branding are all around us, and everyone is looking for a way to stand out from the crowd.

Notably, a global study revealed consumers are four to six times more likely to support and buy from purpose-driven companies, especially in recent years. This is called a “brand purpose,” and is a crucial part of maintaining customer loyalty by connecting with an audience on an emotional level.



What is brand purpose?

Brand purpose is your company’s reason for being beyond making money. It’s what drives your branding and marketing efforts forward, giving you a brand identity that resonates with customers.

Understanding and articulating your brand’s purpose can transform customer engagement, employee satisfaction, and overall business resilience. By embracing a clearly defined brand purpose, businesses foster loyalty among their customers and attract talent and partnerships that share their values, further amplifying their impact and success.

This guide explains how to identify, articulate, and reinforce your brand’s unique mission. Through practical strategies and real-life examples, you’ll learn how to weave your purpose into every aspect of your business model for a more meaningful and enduring brand.

How is brand purpose different than brand vision, mission, and values?

Brand purpose, brand vision, brand mission, and brand values are fundamental concepts that shape the identity and strategy of a company, but they each serve distinct roles. Understanding the differences among these concepts is crucial for creating a cohesive brand strategy:

When combined, these elements form a holistic approach to a successful brand strategy. This alignment ensures that the company operates with a consistent and compelling narrative, from its overarching goals to the daily actions of its employees. A well-defined purpose, vision, mission, and set of values are essential for guiding a company toward long-term success and sustainability, establishing a brand that customers trust and support.

Why is brand purpose important?

Today’s businesses need to focus on more than just profits to attract consumers, especially younger ones like millennials and Gen Zers. These consumers prefer brands that stand for something positive, like sustainability and climate change or progressive social causes.

Studies show that many consumers are happy to pay extra for products from brands that are actively involved in making a difference in the world. This willingness to support purpose-driven brands is tied to the belief that companies should help address social and environmental issues, which in turn fosters loyalty among customers.

Authenticity is key for consumers deciding which brands to support. Brands that communicate a clear and meaningful purpose connect better with their target audience and demographics, creating differentiation and fostering trust. This attracts customers while also building strong brand loyalty, as people tend to stick with brands that share their values.

A company’s commitment to a purpose also plays a big role in motivating employees. Knowing they work for a purpose-driven company brings a sense of pride and satisfaction, making employees more committed to their jobs. They become brand advocates, promoting the company’s values through their work and within their communities. Additionally, a clear purpose helps attract potential employees who are looking for workplaces with values that match their own, making it easier for companies to hire people who are a good fit.

How to develop a brand purpose

Whether this is your first time developing a brand purpose or you are looking to refine your current approach, this guide is for you. Here are simple guidelines for making the concept of a brand purpose a reality for your company:

1. Conduct market research

Market research for developing a brand purpose focuses on understanding what your customers truly care about and how they view the world. Ask questions about their values, aspirations, and the issues they believe in; the information gathered here is essential for understanding what your brand could and should stand for as dictated by your desired audiences.

This step involves listening to your target audience through surveys, interviews, and social media to gather insights that shape a purpose that aligns with their beliefs. Look for patterns in the feedback that highlight common values and concerns. This approach ensures your brand purpose isn’t just a mission statement, but a reflection of a shared vision between your brand and its customers. Craft your brand around this shared vision to build stronger connections and loyalty.

2. Align with company values

As Simon Sinek suggested in a viral TED Talk, start strong by understanding the “why” behind your business. This “why” is your brand purpose — the core reason your company exists beyond making a profit. It’s about the impact you wish to have on the world and the difference you aim to make in your customers’ lives.

By starting with “why,” you align your brand purpose with your company’s values, which serve as the guiding principles for how you operate and make decisions.

3. Engage stakeholders

Engaging your stakeholders with your brand purpose makes them feel like they’re a part of something bigger than simply a transaction. Start by clearly communicating your brand purpose in every interaction, whether it’s through marketing materials, social media, or customer service.

It’s important that your brand message is consistent and authentic, reflecting the true values and mission of your company. This clarity helps stakeholders understand not just what you do, but why you do it, making them more likely to support and advocate for your brand.

Here are three strategies for storytelling and participation, pivotal elements in building a meaningful connection with your audience:

At the end of the day, the key is to demonstrate your brand purpose through actions, not just words. Show how you’re making a positive impact on the community or environment, whether that’s through sustainable business practices, charitable initiatives, or ethical sourcing.

When stakeholders see your brand actively working toward its stated purpose, their trust and loyalty will grow. Remember, in the end, what matters are the actions you take that truly engage and inspire those around you to join in your mission.

4. Define your brand purpose

Defining your brand purpose involves translating your “why” into words that simply communicate your mission in a compelling way.

Start by reflecting on what drives your business beyond making money. Consider the impact you want to have on your customers, community, and the world. This requires digging deep to uncover the true essence of your brand. Once you’ve identified this core purpose, distill it into a simple, memorable statement that encapsulates your brand’s heart and soul.

Identifying your brand purpose isn’t just about internal reflection — it’s also about understanding how you fit into the larger market, as well as society. Here are some steps to guide you:

To better define your brand purpose, engage in introspection and market analysis. Examine the needs and challenges of your target audience and consider how your brand can address these in a unique and impactful way.

Understanding your audience’s expectations allows you to tailor your brand’s purpose to not only meet these needs but also to provide innovative solutions that set you apart from competitors. This emphasizes the importance of empathy and customer-centric thinking in shaping a brand purpose that genuinely resonates with people’s lives and aspirations.

5. Communicate your brand purpose

Communicating your brand purpose effectively is about ensuring that your message is clear, consistent, and integrated into every aspect of your brand and customer experience. Adobe Express makes it easy to shape engaging graphics, videos, and web experiences to connect with customers. Use bold design elements and impactful visuals to bring your brand purpose to life.

Start by embedding your purpose into your brand story. This story should be shared not just on your website and marketing campaigns, but also through the experiences you create for your customers. It’s about making your purpose so integral to your brand that customers can feel it in every interaction they have with you.

To make your brand purpose succinct and impactful, consider these strategies:

Regularly measure the impact of your communication efforts to see how well your brand purpose is resonating with your audience. Use customer feedback, social media engagement, and other metrics to gauge the progress of your message. Adjust your strategies as needed based on this feedback, evolving your brand to mesh with your audience.

Brand purpose examples

Now let’s review some examples of strong brand purposes in action.


Patagonia’s brand purpose is deeply rooted in its commitment to environmental sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices. From the outset, the company positioned itself as an advocate for the planet, leveraging its influence to promote conservation efforts and sustainable living. This commitment is evident in everything from the materials they choose to the initiatives they support, making their brand purpose tangible and authentic. Patagonia doesn’t just sell outdoor apparel and gear; it sells a vision of a better, more sustainable future for our planet.

Key factors in Patagonia’s success include:

Patagonia’s approach to business is a testament to the power of aligning operations with a broader mission. This alignment not only resonates with their target audience but also sets them apart in a crowded marketplace. Customers are not just buying a product — they are participating in a movement toward environmental sustainability. This shared sense of purpose fosters a loyal customer base and establishes Patagonia as a leader in corporate responsibility and environmental advocacy.


Dove achieved brand purpose success with its “Real Beauty” campaign by challenging the traditional Eurocentric beauty standards prevalent in the advertising seen in the beauty industry. The campaign, launched in 2004, celebrates the natural diversity of women and inspires confidence in one’s self.

By featuring women of different shapes, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, Dove positioned itself as a brand that champions inclusivity and self-esteem. This shift not only differentiated Dove from its competitors but also sparked a global conversation about living up to beauty ideals.

Dove’s strategies include:

Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign transcended traditional marketing by fostering a community and a movement towards redefining beauty standards. This successful campaign increased sales and sparked a lasting impact on its audience’s perception of what beauty can be.

Dove’s commitment to its brand purpose through this campaign sustained its relevance and earned the company accolades for social responsibility and ethical marketing. This strategic alignment of brand values with consumer aspirations makes the “Real Beauty” campaign a hallmark in purpose-driven advertising.


Apple’s brand purpose success stems from its unwavering commitment to innovation, simplicity, and enhancing people’s lives through technology.

From the beginning, Apple positioned itself as a pioneer, focusing on creating products that are both intuitively designed and functionally superior. This focus on user experience and reliability cultivates a loyal customer base that trusts and advocates for the brand. Apple’s mission — “to bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services” — resonates deeply with consumers seeking quality and innovation in the personal technology sector.

A few key points highlighting how Apple’s brand purpose shapes its success include:

Apple’s ability to integrate its brand purpose into every aspect of its business, from product development to corporate responsibility, established it as a leader in the tech industry. The company’s success lies in its ability to sell products and its capacity to create a community of users who believe in what Apple stands for.

Apple has transcended being merely a company; it is an integral part of its customers’ user and buyer identities. This profound connection underscores the powerful role of brand purpose in fostering enduring relationships with consumers.


Nike’s brand purpose success is rooted in its commitment to innovation, inspiration, and inclusivity in sports. The company consistently positions itself as a seller of athletic wear and as a promoter of athletic excellence and personal achievement.

This is epitomized in their iconic “Just Do It” slogan, which encapsulates the ethos of pushing boundaries and overcoming obstacles. By celebrating athletes from all walks of life and levels of ability, Nike inspires its customers to strive for their personal best, making the brand synonymous with sports achievement and perseverance.

Ingredients in their recipe for success include:

Nike’s success is not only measured by its financial achievements but also by its ability to influence and participate in cultural discussions. The brand has adeptly used its platform to support social causes and movements, further embedding its purpose into the fabric of society.

Through these efforts, Nike maintains its position at the forefront of the sports industry, not just as a provider of athletic gear but as a key player in global conversations about sports, society, and empowerment.

Make your brand purpose shine

The iconic Nike swoosh has become a universal symbol of excellence, ambition, and innovation, reinforcing the company’s brand purpose with every appearance. This simple yet powerful logo encapsulates Nike’s ethos, making it instantly recognizable and contributing significantly to the brand’s global recognition and success. Leverage the powerful logo design tools from Adobe and logo makers from Adobe Express to transform your brand’s vision into reality with professional and customizable designs.

The bottom line is that a clear and compelling brand purpose is not just beneficial, it’s a critical component of a brand’s identity and success. It’s the driving force that cultivates a closer bond with consumers, beyond transactions, to create meaningful connections.

When a company’s core mission resonates with its audience, it can elevate the brand to an essential part of consumers’ lives. This strong connection boosts loyalty and propels the brand forward, proving that a strong brand purpose is indispensable in building a lasting legacy.

Ready to make a lasting impact? Adobe Express is a powerful tool that can help you make engaging visuals that bring your brand purpose to life. Start communicating your unique story and brand purpose today.

Try Adobe Express today