When a company aligns what it is good at, with what it is passionate about changing in the world, an unstoppable business venture emerges. Increasingly, consumers demand that companies take a stand on political, environmental and economic issues that matter to them. The idea of corporate social responsibility is no longer a novelty for businesses; it’s an integral part of everyday operations.
With nearly 90 percent of customers saying they place a higher value on businesses that are purpose driven, quality of product and pricing simply aren’t the primary considerations in purchasing decisions any longer. Customers want more from a brand to gain their loyalty; they want a company they can feel good about giving their money to, something that speaks to their own personal ethos, either real or perceived. Consumers would like to know that their purchases are going to help a greater good – not simply lining a shareholder’s pockets.
It’s increasingly important for brands to not only have a solid mission statement, but to then align everything behind their brand with that mission statement.
Just as it isn’t enough to have high quality and value-based prices, creating a mission statement that is not on-brand does nothing to gain confidence in a buyer. Brand-mission alignment embeds the mission of the company into everything the company does, from marketing to production to distribution and sales.
As a mission statement is formed, the company must look within itself and find what it is truly passionate about changing in the world.
Companies driven by a passion to make a positive impact on the world can make massive strides, even in remote locations, allowing them to connect with global consumers on a more personal level.
Through their education fund, manufacturing ethics, and in-home knitting programs, Sherpa Adventure Gear has worked to ensure every part of its business contributes to the betterment of the Nepali community in which it operates. Founded by Tashi Sherpa — who sought to bring jobs back to his home country of Nepal — Sherpa Adventure Gear is an example of a company who has aligned its brand with a personal mission.
When a mission statement and brand identity are fully aligned, a powerful force takes over within the business.
Look at Patagonia, for another example. Their mission statement: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crises.”
Not only is that a powerful statement that Patagonia’s target customers can get behind, but it also plays into everything the brand does in business. Yes, Patagonia creates high-quality products (the first part of their mission statement). What customers can truly be proud of, however, is that Patagonia lives up to the expectations set within its own mission statement. Patagonia leads by example, time and again, for what it means to be a proponent for environmental change and responsible business in the outdoor industry. Customers know what to expect from Patagonia, which drives them to continue to support the brand.
How does a company ensure its brand is aligned with its mission?
It starts with a passion. Keeping in mind the ethos the company was founded upon, determine why the company wants to make a difference in the world. Environmental protection is the driving force behind Patagonia’s mission. Creating a feeling of purpose in the world brings everyone – employees, customers, founders and other stakeholders – together for a like cause.
From the passion that is built into the mission statement, each aspect of the business is built to further that goal. Marketing campaigns are created not to sell the products, but to sell the story; to sell the mission. The company voice then develops as if one person is behind every aspect of the business. Rather than one person, however, it is one common ethos that binds together the company and all its stakeholders. This evolution into a purpose-driven company builds stronger bonds within the community than any product or service could ever hope to do alone.
Increasing social awareness of global issues is the driving force behind these changes in consumer spending habits. This is a great time in history to join the movement to create a better world. Consumers don’t just request it of companies any longer, they demand it.
–Stephanie Yarbrough, M.B.A, is a business consultant and outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, climbing, skiing, paddle boarding and mountain biking across the various landscapes of the world. After graduating from Texas A&M University, she built her career in business tax before transitioning to business consulting. In 2015, Stephanie and her husband Nate sold most of their belongings and began a nomadic lifestyle and she currently operates her consulting business from the comforts of her Sprinter van while exploring as much of the world as she can possibly fit into her lifetime. Follow their journey on Instagram at @adventure_in_a_backpack and at Youtube.com/c/adventureinabackpackcreative. Lead photo by Nate Yarbrough.