What’s the (brand) purpose?

I recently wrote a post on the evolution of the positioning. If there are any non-marketing geeks reading this, positioning is the practice of defining a brand’s distinct mix of attributes and benefits in order to own a a unique spot in the mind of a prospect.

Today, there is much more parity between brands since the positioning concept was introduced in 1981. Here’s how I explained it in that post:

You can blame the speed of information. You can point to the availability of technology that now allows all competitors to quickly ramp up new capabilities. The bottom line is that creating easily identifiable positioning differentiation is difficult at best today.

So how do you differentiate today? You ask, “What’s the purpose?"

Are we cynical or are we genuinely searching for purpose?

How you ask the question can yield very different results.

If we ask cynically, “What’s the purpose?” It means we've given up. We’ve packed it in and decided that trying to differentiate ourselves is just too hard. It’s easier just to become part of the white noise created by all those parity brands out there.

That’s kind of depressing.

So let’s ask the question like we’re genuinely searching for meaning for our brand. In other words, what’s the larger purpose our brand serves? How can the brand make a difference in a life, a community, or even the world? Let’s define that. Let’s claim that incredible meaning our brand serves ( I call it Big Audacious Meaning).

Let’s not just settle for occupying a space in the mind of our prospects. Let’s start a movement that will change their minds completely. A movement that will inspire our prospects. That’s way more powerful than positioning.

All of which leads us to the most important question. Is your brand merely defining a difference, or is it making a difference?