THE LANGUAGE OF BRANDS
Organisations and FMCG brands traditionally develop purpose, vision, mission and positioning statements – although sometimes the structure differs between brands.
Whatever Brand-specific terminology is used, each of these statements have a unique role in bringing direction, clarity, and consistency to the experience of the brand: the Who, What, Where, Why and How.
For Personal Leadership Brands, we use the following brand language:
PURPOSE: WHY you do what you do: your motivational driving force.
VISION: WHERE you want to be: the image of success that guides your direction.
MISSION: WHAT you do: WHO you’ll benefit; the value you deliver.
POSITIONING: HOW you do it: your difference; the mind-space you want to own.
Your Personal Leadership Brands defines you: Who, What, When, Where, and How. All driven by your Why.
Most of us have some sort of idea of where we want to be, and a reasonably clear vision of what we’d like our future to hold. But what’s our purpose? What’s driving us forward?
Think of your purpose as your own personal compass; it gives absolute direction: north, south, east and west.
Absolute directions don’t change according to where you are. North for someone in Cape Town lies in the same direction for someone in New York or London.
Compare this to other directions such as left and right, or forward and backward. These are relative directions; they depend on where you are. Where you live, the car you drive, the job you do… these are all relative to where you are at a moment in time; they’re directions – much like left or right.
Many leadership and personal branding resources confuse purpose and mission. Your mission will have a key goal at its core, and is focussed on what you want to achieve in the medium term.
It will also evolve and change over time, as it’s relative to where you are now. Your purpose is your absolute direction, and is therefore unlikely to change. It’s WHY you do what you do. Not WHAT you do.
LEADERSHIP AND PURPOSE
Every leader should be clear about their organisation’s purpose. However, research has shown that less than 20% of leaders have a sense of their own purpose, and even fewer are able to distil it into a concrete statement.1
In other words, most leaders don’t know what makes them get out of bed in the morning – WHY they do what they do! Your WHY is not ‘increasing stakeholder value’, ‘empowering the team’ or ‘delighting our customers’. That’s what you do! It’s not a list of your academic achievements, experience and skills. That’s your CV!
Your purpose is your ultimate driving force. Your WHY.
Understanding your purpose therefore helps you to:
- Be laser-focussed; not drift from one bright shiny thing to another
- Have the courage to act; to step out of the comfort zone
- Maintain the inspiration to persevere, especially through times of difficulty
- Build a culture of authenticity and passion that excites others
Finding your purpose is not easy. Of all the pieces of the jigsaw that fit together to shape your leadership brand, defining your purpose is the most difficult.
It might take you a while to really understand your inner drive, and even longer to articulate it in a way that’s personal and true to you. It shouldn’t be filled with jargon. It doesn’t need to be aspirational or cause-related.
It just needs to be YOU