What is the purpose of your brand? Is it to become the number one in your industry?
Most clients approach us with the same idea.
In this blog, we turn to the idea of the purpose of a brand to explain the dos and don’ts of defining your purpose. The example of how we wrote our purpose might help you think about where you are headed and why. And whether you’d like to change the direction you’re currently taking in the journey of your brand.
The General Notions of a Brand’s Purpose
In the process of understanding the help they need from us and in the process of understanding whether their goals and our philosophy match, we ask them some basic questions about what deliverable from The Digital Fellow would help them feel satisfied that working with us proved beneficial to them.
In the convoluted vocabulary of all kinds, our clients end up telling us that the digital solutions they seek from us in terms of:
- Digital marketing
- Digital transformation
- Digital process
- Website and App development
- Digital reach
and so on amounts to the same thing. They all aspire to become:
- Number one
- Gaining the largest market share
- Increasing their market share
- More business
- More profit
- More customers
You get the drift.
The purpose of a brand is a very serious thing and it’s absolutely essential that you frame it yourself. Otherwise, there is no clarity regarding what you expect from business solutions. Also, without that clarity, you may not be able to appreciate the returns that you are getting out of your marketing investment.
Start with ‘Why’: Lessons from Simon Sinek
By now, Simon Sinek’s TED talk on Start with ‘Why’ is famous. We’ve heard several thought leaders and industry experts repeat his words: ‘People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.’
We’ve been told that our ‘why’, our purpose is what sets us apart from everyone else. Our ‘why’ makes us unique. It defines ‘why’ doing business with us is suitable for someone. It helps in attracting the buyers who are our most specific audience.
It helps a brand become super specific and eventually, a number one brand in that super specific space.
There are several interpretations of Sinek’s ‘why’.
One is that you should have a solid reason for doing what you do. It should be so unique or so convincing at least so that people agree to buy from you.
Another is that it helps you communicate that you are not here to sell goods. You are here to do something larger than selling something. In the world of marketers where everyone is saying “buy from me”, you are saying “why buy from me”.
Which brings to a third interpretation. When you say ‘why buy from me’, you convey a confidence that you understand where or how your offering helps people. You are telling people that you understand their needs and you’ve factored all their needs into the making of your product. That’s why you are the right choice for them.
Now think about your ‘why’. Match it with the interpretation of Sinek’s proposition of ‘why’.
Does it still make you say the following?:
Buy from me because I AM the market leader.
Buy from me because I WANT TO BE the market leader.
Buy from me because I HAVE the largest market share.
Buy from me because I WANT TO HAVE the largest market share.
Buy from me because I AM growing.
Buy from me because I WANT TO grow.
Growth, profit, market share and so on might be your own metrics to understand how far you’ve come in your journey.
They are your expectations.
They should never be your purpose.
Using them as your guiding light actually means you’re thinking in terms of competition. And not actually doing the unique business you are meant to do. Something unique that sets you apart from others you’re competing with.
The thing is: if you’re not unique, you’ll always remain trapped in the idea of measuring success vis-a-vis the market. And that means always looking for leads and sales.
And never thinking of letting leads come to you or sales taking care of themselves.
Rethink your purpose in order to rethink your business model.
How Purpose Is Connected to Your Business Model
As you read above, in order to think beyond sales and lead generation, you need to have a business model that brings your audience to you.
You’d need to figure out how to:
- target your audience well
- target the audience that’s the right fit for you
- target the audience whose problems you can really solve
- target the audience whose problems you can really solve so that they can come back to you again
That’s not easy at all if you’re doing what others are doing.
However, if your purpose is different, your revenue model doesn’t have to eye the customer base other brands have. Which means you don’t have to think about advertising broadly or keeping announcing offers and discounts in order to increase your sales.
Advertising and promotional offers DO work but at an immense cost to your profit. Nobody ever says, I wish I could’ve given an even bigger discount to sell more!
You see profitability looks like a marketing issue. But it’s actually an issue of business model. It’s a purpose issue!
Your clearly stated purpose is something that can let you define what you want to do. And take proper steps to achieve what you want to achieve.
Don’t believe it? Allow us to share how we arrived at our purpose and see the difference for yourself!
The Purpose of The Digital Fellow
The Digital Fellow was founded in 2017. When we started, our purpose was to solve business problems — especially the ones in the digital domain. From digital marketing to complete digital transformation. This is what we had been claiming and delivering.
As we prepared our buyer personas, we understood who we are targeting. Our identity as digital consultants underwent a process of change.
When we studied the ecosystem of consulting once again after spending a couple of years catering to businesses of all sizes, we looked at all the players.
On the one hand, there were/are KPMG, BCG, Accenture, Deloitte, and so on. These were consultants to giant brands and businesses. They charge businesses nothing less than 10–15 crores for each consultation. They cater to 0.1% of the “market”.
On the other hand, there were/are individual consultants. These are ex-CMOs or ex-CEOs who have left their jobs and now consult different companies. They charge around 1 lakh for their service. They cater to small businesses and to not more than 10% of the “market”.
The giant consultants may or may not help with execution. If they do, their fees get higher.
The individual consultants are a one-person team. They do not and cannot execute the advice they give to the companies.
Between this 0.1 % and 10% lie the vast 89.99% of the “market” of SMEs who need business solutions but don’t know who to turn to!
That’s where we come in.
Our purpose earlier was: to solve business problems.
We later fine tuned it as: to solve digital problems faced by SMEs, a vast sector that no consulting firm was targeting at all.
- We were no longer running around giant brands who were already claimed by the giant consultants.
- We were also avoiding doing businesses with small businesses who just needed some advice and weren’t expecting any execution.
- We were looking at businesses that were capable of dedicating a certain amount to digital solutions. Within this third group, we found there were business leaders who were:
Digitally rich: These guys were advanced. They knew that digital presence was important for their growth and had the resources to invest in it.
Digitally poor: These folks realised the importance of digital technology but thought that it came cheap or didn’t deserve any serious thought. They’d have their family members or teenagers living next door or their sales teams to handle their digital marketing! They’d turn to digital to ask for lead generation instead of thinking about branding.
Digitally ignorant: These were people who’d ask questions like “What’s a Twitter handle and where can I buy one?”
We realised that our now-refined purpose of solving digital problems faced by SMEs had evolved to something even more specific. We now knew we’re interested in serving businesses that had some idea of digital technology and its potential.
This 89.99% of businesses and brands that want to partake of digital revolution in the country and the shift in consumer behaviour towards digital sphere are looking for digital answers to their business problems:
- Developing a digital mindset
- Developing a digital strategy
- Reaching target audience digitally
- Driving traffic to e-commerce
- Developing digital assets — website, app
- Maintaining and optimising digital assets
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Email marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Creating brand awareness
- Social media marketing
- Search engine optimization and so on.
Our purpose is not to be a clone of Accenture or McKinsey or BCG or KPMG.
We’re not competing with any giant.
Our purpose is not to be a clone of thousands of individual consultants in the country.
We’re not competing with these one-person teams.
Our purpose is to serve those whose problems cannot be addressed sufficiently by the individual consultants and those who cannot afford to hire the giant consulting companies.
The 89.99% of the business scene in the country doesn’t have qualified and credible digital experts to turn to. We don’t have to become anyone’s clones or competitors.
As the lockdown struck in March 2020, every business leader was forced to rethink his/her digital strategy. Everyone understood the need for digital transformation for survival and success.
And that gave us an opportunity to reframe our purpose. From solving digital problems that companies faced, we defined our purpose to something broader. This redefinition was necessary to keep up with the digital turn in Indian businesses as a whole. It was no longer enough to solve individual digital challenges faced by businesses. Because the problem was no longer about the bits and parts.
The purpose of TDF is to power the digital transformation of companies as a whole.
Those who want to grow are most welcome. Those who see beyond advertising on the Internet or digital marketing are wholeheartedly welcome. Because it’s no longer about turning to digital media for increasing sales. Cracking the digital setup as a whole is crucial to making a company run well and support several people’s livelihoods.
How You Can Rethink Your Purpose
The journey of our purpose reflects that your ‘why’ changes from time to time. If it doesn’t, you’re cloning someone else. You’re competing with someone else.
You might say to all kinds of sales and businesses to begin with. But gradually, if you find yourself constantly losing in the zero-sum game with your competitors outdoing your efforts and selling better or you find yourself unable to attract your competitors’ customers, you’ll be forced to think again.
That’s the moment you’ll no longer want to be a market leader or number one brand or whatever fancy term you can think of saying that you have more customers than your competitors.
That’s the moment you’ll think about what you want to do and why you are here and what you can do better. And whom you can help better.
Thinking about how to fine tune your purpose as well as your business model? We are just a click away! See you soon!