To speak in terms of the fashion industry, having a purpose as a company or brand is the it-accessory – not only this season but quite possibly for many to come. In fact, it's even become an official recommendation in Denmark. And the word purpose is on all lips at most international conferences. Purpose is no-longer a clever way to make customers care – it's become core to running a business.
An overall purpose is just one of the pieces in the puzzle we call a brand. While you can let your purpose be the primary driver of all decisions – from visual identity to behavior on social media – it's important to make all elements strong in their own right, never neglecting one to pursue the other. When creating a brand, details matter. And if your visual identity is lacking behind, it may not matter that your purpose is good, and vice versa.
Creating a strong brand takes time. And to be frank – it's one of those tasks that's never really finished. However, the more self-aware you are, the easier you can set your brand or company's direction. Keep asking yourself: What is the one thing my customers should remember the brand for? Saving money – or saving the world?
By taking a stand for your brand, you will avoid having coincidences determine your marketing and position. Turning your focus inwards and considering how your brand looks, to whom you communicate, and how you do it, you can create a framework within which your brand can grow and evolve.
Once you've established what you stand for – essentially, what the world would be missing if you weren't around, the work of translating this purpose into all areas of your business begins. Visual identity and tone of voice are like speaking two different languages simultaneously, and it's important to make sure you're saying the same thing in both. If you can't be consistent, you will end up confusing people. And people tend to end up not caring about the things they don't understand.
Being perseverant and setting a consistent style and direction for a brand will give the target group a clearer idea of you. Condensing the narrative of a brand will strengthen the brand. And don't be afraid of the limitations that may bring – when you try to be something for everyone, you end up being nothing for everyone!
As with all languages, things change with time. The meaning of the words is shaped by the world, and you need to make sure you keep up. So, the translation work is a continuous job. It's not a one-off job – you need to set aside time to reexamine, readjust, recalibrate. Because as the world changes, so should you.
Are your customers still the same? Do they still have the same worries and values? Do you? And is what you're saying what you're doing? These are the kinds of questions you should never be afraid to ask. We're not suggesting a comprehensive brand makeover every year, but in the pursuit of consistency, you need to mind the details. The details form the whole, and even if they're just slightly off, they pose a threat to your brand's perception.
It might sound terrifying to be open to the possibility that you may never find the one answer to everything. Sometimes, staying the same involves changing. And the only way to make sure your brand is in-tune with its surroundings is by staying open, curious, and questioning everything.