The Guide to Brand Purpose, using Purpose-Driven Brand Archetypes ™

We all know we are in the greatest social shift of our lifetime. It’s changing why and how we do business, urging us to arrive in right relationship with every node on our network, throughout every system we create. This paradigm shift is referred to by many as Conscious Capitalism. It’s not new, but its necessity is now.

Those who have chosen purpose-driven and value-driven businesses have excelled, emerging through the fog of these changing times with positive impact. They are leading the charge with a commitment to social and environmental goals, advocating for corporate accountability, all while protecting the financial interests of their shareholders and stakeholders in tandem, which has helped them experience increased profitability. 

No longer is profit the sole mission of Business. Profit at the expense of people and the earth is no longer acceptable, and that model is (finally, more on this soon, in real time) meeting its end. In its wake, we are at the vigil for a waning era of capitalism, and simultaneously welcoming the new dawn where purpose and values — not profit — rebuild the foundation of brands and their businesses.

“In 2013, a Harvard Business Review article showed companies that practice “Conscious Capitalism” perform ten times better than their peers.”

In Conscious Capitalism, there is less and less separation between profit, values, and positive impact. In real-time, their interconnectivity drives purpose. It’s all about positive impact, and here’s the thing: You can’t fake it. You can’t perform it. It is only by taking a deeper dive into your whole brand identity, and understanding your own systems of interconnectivity to your clients and client communities through history, social, and earth justice that can drive your new trajectory into Conscious Capitalism. 

So, how do we do get there? How do we position purpose and values at the center of our enterprise? Ideally, we move from disparate tactics and reactive struggles to connect the dots between mission statements and business models, and truly understand the value and difference between stakeholders and shareholders. It’s a timely tune-up that once honed, can yield immediate benefits:

3 Direct Benefits of Implementing Purpose-Driven Ideals 

  1. Brand loyalty. Purpose helps to foster deeper connections with consumers, who are connected by community. When you know your own values that drive your passion and purpose, you can connect more easily with the communities who benefit from your work. 
  2. Higher productivity and employee retention rates. The positive impact of your company’s purpose to the community and world helps to attract and retain employees. People want to feel like they are a part of something big and beneficial for people and the environment. And, it’s expected – more than 70 percent of millennials expect their employers to focus on societal or mission-driven problems. So, let’s deliver, shall we?
  3. Sales growth. Between captivating consumers who are part of greater communities, and building strength and clarity from the inside-out, a stronger enterprise is activated, and growth is imminent. 

First, let’s bust some myths.

3 Myths About Purpose-Driven Businesses

  1. “Purpose-Driven” means nonprofit. Being a purpose-driven business does not mean that you don’t care about revenue. Leading with purpose in your business is letting your values lead your business. Your purpose can be fueled by your passion for change, your inherent love for people and the planet, or your dedication to your cause. Generating profits matters, but it is not the only goal.
  2. Changing or rethinking my mission statement is all I need to do. Your purpose as an organization is bigger than your mission statement, your tag line, your graphics. Your purpose should permeate into your customers, your suppliers, your communities, your employees, and your investors. Rethinking your mission statement is important but that is only one of the first steps, one piece of a greater branding foundation that can support your whole enterprise. The first key question is How is this statement showing up in your business model and daily operations?  
  3. It’s all about showing my purpose on the  end-product. For purpose-driven companies success isn’t determined only by the end-product or service offered, but by the the who, what, why, and purpose behind the creation and execution of the product or service offered.

According to Deloitte Insights, “Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow three times faster on average than their competitors, all while achieving higher workforce and customer satisfaction.”

So, how do we make a Purpose-Driven business? Meet Consciously’s Purpose-Driven Brand Archetypes

According to a recent poll performed by Deloitte Insights, “many consumers today make decisions based on how brands treat their people, how they treat the environment, and how they support the communities in which they operate.”

Purpose-driven brands have an authentic relationship with their stakeholders and through their purpose establish longevity and relevance in their consumers’ lives. We at Consciously® have authored a branding roadmap that includes this guide to help you properly define your brand as purpose-driven, and draw more inspired customers and their communities to come aboard to your business. This is first piece of your brand foundation, and we are proud to introduce you to the Purpose-Driven Brand Archetypes.

Before we begin, know this: There is one common denominator between all brand archetypes. Each ensures a prosperous future for their business ecosystem and all of its stakeholders when they hold their passion and purpose as a priority. 

We’ve also included a few recognized purpose-driven brands as a way to connect to the dots.

Purpose Archetypes™ Types of Purpose-Driven Businesses

“Branding” at the root of its definition is “to mark,” which begs the question, what type of mark are you leaving with those who follow and support your brand and the communities in which you operate? We created these brand archetypes to help businesses better classify the type of purpose-driven company they are or aspire to be. Archetypes are also a comprehensive way to relay a much larger message—especially given their visual representation—to stakeholders including your employees, consumers, and investors.

Compass Companies are Some of the Most Ambitious, Well-Known, Purpose-Driven Companies in the World

Compass Companies use growth, profit, and expansion as tools to fuel the practical application of their ideals. Whether their focus is on the environment, social equality, or another cause, the end game is to see their ideas into reality, fostering collective change.

Their guiding light is Conscious Capitalism. They lead their companies with passion, purpose, and conviction. Every decision is made from an ethical, responsible, and values-based approach that ultimately benefits all stakeholders – from each consumer outward to their communities. Ultimately, these brands lead movements.

Their goals and motivations also include growth and expansion. They start to get really big and continue to grow with the goal of leaving a blazing trail of positive social impact. These companies are forced to choose between purpose and profit on an ongoing basis, however passionately driven by their compelling mission, they easily employ people that will help to accomplish their goals by choosing purpose every time. 

Recognizable Brands with this archetype include:

  • Patagonia—the first company in California to elect benefit corporation (B Corp) status, started as a small outdoor apparel company that manufactured climbing tools and grew into the Compass Company we know today. Their core mission—“Patagonia is in business to save our home planet”—has influenced their decision in manufacturing high-quality outdoor apparel with a minimum footprint on the environment, building model global supply chains that include worker fairness and environmental improvement as uncompromising standards. 
  • Ben & Jerry’s—the renowned ice cream company created by two Vermont entrepreneurs has supported the Conscious Capitalism framework from the very beginning by including the concept of “linked prosperity”—when you make intentional decisions that work to create equitable prosperity along the value chain— in their mission statement. They’ve demonstrated this concept in their business model in many ways including being active in the fair trade movement, pioneering the use of new, energy-efficient freezer technology in the U.S, and of course working with local dairy farms to find economically and environmentally sustainable practices.

Small Giants are and have been some of the best Challenger brands in the world by focusing on being and growing better not necessarily bigger.

Small Giants are independent companies who focus on growing better, not bigger. They operate as a corporate giant, but on a much smaller scale. The leaders of small giants companies choose to remain private and independent so they can put people first and stay true to their purpose.

Their guiding light is their value system. They are rooted in community and focus on fostering meaningful relationships. 

Their goals and motivations include prioritizing their mission over growth while successfully identifying and satisfying multiple stakeholders across their business ecosystem. They believe in long-term growth supported by meaningful relationships. Small Giants operate free from shareholder obligations and emerge triumphant as legends in the face of a market’s narrow perception of success. 

Recognizable brands with this archetype include:

  • Clif Bar—a privately-held company that produces nutritious energy foods uphold 5 core brand values (aspirations as they call them)—sustaining our people, sustaining our communities, sustaining the planet, sustaining our brands, and sustaining our business. The company is family and employee-owned. They are also Rainforest Alliance Certified™, meaning their sustainably sourced palm oil and cacao support a healthy environment, promote the well-being of workers and their communities, and strictly prohibits child labor.
  • Uncommon Goods—a privately-held, certified B Corp that is an online marketplace connecting makers and shoppers. They are a company that keeps the “triple bottom line” in mind, which is essentially their mission of the “3 Ps,” three facets of sustainability in business: people, planet, and profit. They’ve also recently started hiring employees from chronically underemployed populations and communities and paying seasonal workers 50% more than minimum wage.

Small Giant Leadership Academy and certification

Small Giants has a Leadership Academy; its one-year certification program “consists of virtual learning sessions with expert leaders and coaches, an extensive resource library, a leadership assessment, and your event ticket to two Small Giants gatherings.”

Built for emerging leaders, the Small Giants Leadership Academy teaches the practices that “make exceptional purpose-driven leaders and cultures” to help you “bring your core values to life.”

Companies of One focus on big impact and maintain a small footprint.

If a small giant isn’t small enough for you, become a company of one. Paul Jarvis wrote a prophetic book on just : “Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business.”

Think of this company type as a minimalist organization. These types of companies have been called many things: solopreneurs, mompreneurs, etc., but there is a common thread. They want to have a small footprint while having as big an impact as possible on their businesses ecosystem on stakeholders.

In the book, Jarvis explains how you can find the right pathway to deliberately commit to staying small and how to make it work for you. It’s centered around doing more to become a business that charges for things that are not based on you spending time doing them yourself and or having a finite amount of clients and customers so that growing the business is fairly impossible but growing revenue becomes part of locking in long term partnerships with clients at higher and higher return for your time. In the book he says.

Their goals and motivations include mentorship and supporting others through their unique experiences and expertise.

Recognizable brands with this archetype include: Daymond John—affectionately known as “The People’s Shark” has given countless aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to work alongside him and his team, providing them with mentorship on what they need to take their business to the next level.

“By staying small, one can have freedom to pursue more meaningful pleasures in life and avoid the headaches that result from dealing with employees, long meetings or worrying about expansion.”

Maybe you’re a Locally-Focused Business

Locally-Focused companies focus on and support their geographic community’s economy.   

Their guiding light is their community and its needs, and their purpose is simply to serve the interests of their community: hiring local, fostering local people, getting involved in progressive local politics. They sponsor events and festivals, and are the companies that put small towns on the map, bucking big box retail takeovers and stimulating the geographic region. These companies think of their business as an extension of their community’s values.

Their goals and motivations include stimulating their community’s economy by keeping money from going to big-box retailers and other national companies that generally don’t focus their investments in local community. 

Recognizable brands with this archetype include: 

  • Brooklyn Roasting Company—New York City’s leading homegrown coffee business is dedicated to the superb and sustainable coffees they roast each day in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Their core commitments include diversity in the workplace and progressive Fair Trade purchasing standards.
  • All City Homes—a boutique real estate brokerage serving buyers and sellers in the Greater Sacramento area with a compelling mission to empower communities through homeownership, create meaningful experiences, and impact the community through social responsibility. 

Keeping business and money local is one of the best ways to support your community’s geographic business ecosystem and keep money from going to big box retailers and services that generally don’t invest in that geographic community.

The most recent survey of more than 3,000 business owners, independent businesses in communities with a long-term “buy local and independent” campaign reported average revenue growth of 7.4%, which is nearly double the 4.2% increase for independent businesses not supported by these campaigns.

The following resources will help you start your own “buy local” campaign or start a small business alliance in your community if that’s something you’re interested in.

  • The American Independent Business Association (AMIBA) provides templates, reports, and other resources to help small businesses thrive. AMIBA works to help independent businesses successfully compete by educating the public on their value, sharing skills and resources, creating a strong voice for independent businesses, and enhancing opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) currently has around 350,000 small business members, and they specialize in small business advocacy. NFIB stays up-to-date on the issues that affect small businesses and lobby governments on their behalf. You will also have access to their networking events, discounts, and various resources.
  • A Local or Industry Specific Chamber of Commerce is a great resource for small business, and you’ll find a directory here. Small businesses that target a local market should consider joining the local chamber of commerce. It may come with a small price tag, but it’s usually worth the expense. Members receive small business newsletters, entrepreneurship workshops, booths at local shows, and discounts. This is one of the best small business associations for B2B businesses, because you’ll meet new customers at events, which provide an easy way to network and advertise in a casual setting.

Environmentally or sustainability-focused companies

Climate – Sustainable Businesses focus on environmental sustainability to drive their policies and actions.

Their guiding light is protecting the environment. They’re driven by regenerative processes through sustainable practices. They are committed to reversing or adapting to climate change in ways that cause less harm to the earth.

Their goals and motivations also include making decisions that can positively impact the present based on the well-being of their customers, employees, and communities. The obligation to protect the planet’s well-being for the generations to come is rooted in their purpose.

Recognizable brands with this archetype include: 

  • Imperfect Foods—an online grocery delivery service for organic and sustainable foods, with the mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone.They also have a 2030 Commitment to becoming a net-zero carbon company by reducing waste to landfills, using energy responsibly, and sourcing intentionally. 
  • Who Gives A Crap—a toilet paper company that donates 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. Their toilet paper is made from 100% sustainably sourced bamboo paper and their packaging is completely plastic-free. 

Social equality-focused companies

Equity-Focused Businesses build a better world by being the change they want to see in the world.

Their guiding light is supporting traditionally marginalized groups such as Black people, indegenious peoples, other people of color, women, immigrants, aor LGBTQ people. Their purpose is to center groups that are historically marginalized, and lift them socially, economically, and politically.

Their goals and motivations include fighting for and providing equal opportunity care, social equity, far wage, and accessibility.

Recognizable brands with this archetype include: 

  • Black Girls CODE—an organization dedicated to providing computer coding lessons to young black girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails. They seek to bridge the digital divide—the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital technology and those without.
  • Rising Tides—a global consulting and advisory firm that is unapologetically pro-woman. Their mission is to support, partner with, and patronize women-owned businesses whenever possible.

What does this mean to your business? If your business mission is social equality, focus on minority, othered and disadvantaged or traditionally marginalized groups for both your customer base and your employees whenever possible

Read more about certifications for equity focused businesses

The Enabler Company

The Enabler Company empowers other businesses to thrive and grow.

Their guiding light is mutually beneficial relationships through technology as tools to foster those relationships.  Their goals and motivations include streamlining business objectives and values for other businesses. Enabler businesses serve as a guide in the evolution of other businesses.

Recognizable brands with this archetype include: 

  • Etsy—an online, global marketplace for unique and creative goods with a clear mission: “Keep Commerce Human” meaning to keep human connection at the heart of commerce. They help creative entrepreneurs start, manage, and scale their businesses.
  • Kickstarter— a B Corp certified, a global crowdfunding platform for creative professionals. The platform enables users to start their own funding projects and gain revenue for their projects. 

Social equality-focused companies

Culture-Focused Companies create platforms that shine a light on uncommon or historically disadvantaged groups.  

Their guiding light is representation, and their goal is to create visibility for the communities they are advocating and create more access for those communities.  

Recognizable brands with this archetype include: 

  • Carnegie Hall—a national historic landmark with the mission of bringing the transformative power of music to the world by providing a platform for new musicians, offering visionary education programs, and fostering the future of music through the cultivation of new works, artists, and audiences.
  • BTU Arts—an Arts Education organization that brings music, visual, and performing arts directly to the community. Its mission is to instill and support positive forms of expression in the community through the promotion of literacy in the arts. They work with after-school programs, churches, and neighborhood associations.

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Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity (Revised, Updated)

Equality: Courageous Conversations About Women, Men and Race to Spark a Diversity and Inclusion Breakthrough

The Ethical Sellout: Maintaining Your Integrity in the Age of Compromise

The B Corp Handbook: How You Can Use Business as a Force for Good

The Five Disciplines of Inclusive Leaders: Designing the Equitable Organization of the Future

Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values

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