With traditional businesses trying to run more like a startup and startups trying to reach the growth of a traditional business, brands are constantly looking to improve in an effort to keep up.

And whether growing the business, rolling out a new product, or repositioning the brand, there are a few crucial guidelines for implementing that vision—all of which should consider the role of purpose-driven marketing.

Purpose-driven marketing is used to grow and sustain a business, but the overall idea is to help a business understand where it's going and then act effectively.

Here are four questions that will help you understand your company's purpose and its ability to change.

1. What is your business's niche?

This is the first part of purpose-driven marketing: Know your competitors. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Ask the question, Why would my customers pay a premium for my services or product, and is there a way to do it that differentiates me from others?

Unfortunately, answering those questions doesn't come easy, and it is usually difficult for the staff to really see the business from an objective point of view. Often, the best option is to look to an outside resource for insight into your brand's place in the market.

A few years ago, I worked with the Imperial Sugar Company after its bankruptcy. This was a 160-year old, billion-dollar company that had third-generation employees, many of whom had been born in company-owned housing. It was a long-term company that needed some insight on the organization and its market. We realized that the company had been defining itself as purely a sugar company since before Texas was a state, but when we looked at the marketplace, we realized that many of its customers, such as Wal-Mart and General Mills, didn't care about any specific company's sugar. They cared about sugar being delivered the way they wanted, at the right place, and the right time: They cared about the supply chain. So the company needed to redefine itself. Imperial Sugar Company could no longer be just a sugar-making company; it needed to be the best supply chain company in the industry.

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image of Art Saxby

Art Saxby is the founding principal of Chief Outsiders, an executive-level consulting firm that helps CEOs of midsize companies implement their vision of growth.

LinkedIn: Art Saxby