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Purpose-Driven Marketing: The Missing Ingredient When Growing a Brand

by Art Saxby  |  
August 2, 2013
  |  9,491 views

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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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

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  • by Craig Helgerson Fri Aug 2, 2013 via web

    Great succinct insights Art...brilliant move at Imperial. After being in the Evangelical movement now for 30 plus years my blood turns cold when I hear anything "Purpose Driven"...I was an early adopter of the PD model just to see nothing but carnage in the entire movements rear view mirror. I drank the cool-aid that virtually took the Stalwarts of each Church across America to the rail...seems a little light on the love idea hey? I'm not sure if you are familiar with this movement; however, there are several million evangelicals who get a sick feeling in their gut when Purpose is injected into any subject at hand...kind of like not realizing whats happening globally and naming a new marketing program "Jihadest Marketing"...many of us would be reticent to embrace such an ethos...for what its worth...but great content!

  • by Mr. Edgar D. Laurente, MBA Fri Aug 2, 2013 via web

    Informative and helpful. Thank you.

  • by Gracious Store Sun Aug 4, 2013 via web

    It is important o articulate the reason for the existence of your company and your goal. This will help you to develop appropriate strategies to fulfill your mission.

  • by Quinn Mallory Mon Aug 5, 2013 via web

    Craig, what are you talking about? What does whatever you're speaking of have to do with Art's article? I thought perhaps your post was spam as it didn't seem to have any relevance, but there was no redirect link.

  • by Craig Mon Aug 5, 2013 via web

    Sorry Quinn...inside joke (but not very funny) just letting our author know that there has been massive personal and spiritual carnage associated with the term "Purpose Driven" ever since my past hero Rick Warren first coined "The Purpose Driven Life" years ago. Tens of millions of copies of this ethos have been generated over the past 10 or so years...just trying to nicely encourage him to rename the thoughts because they are all good; however, someone came out onto the stage of public opinion and tarnished it...maybe it would make more sense if I used an analogy like name a girls school named "The Bill Clinton School For Young Intern Etiquette and Protocol"...just kind of putting a headwind into marketing some good ideas due to guilt by association with several million evangelical business men and women....hope this helps.

  • by Lakshan Thu Dec 5, 2013 via web

    Great post Art. Purpose is certainly important for organizations who wish to address the long-term growth perspective. I was reading something along similar lines the other day http://bit.ly/19j2BHA
    It's great that awareness is building on the importance of purpose-driven marketing.

  • by Abhey Mon Aug 25, 2014 via web

    Great Article Art. Your Information on Purpose driven marketing was insightful. i have come across a similar article which explains why Purpose-driven marketing is much more than just a digital marketing buzzword. http://blog.xerago.com/2013/09/is-your-marketing-driven-by-purpose/
    Hope this link helps

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