I like a quote by Mark Twain – The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find why.
India has about 1.4 million companies active and on an average day, 350-400 companies are born in India. How many of these brands are loved by their stakeholders? When brands and their leaders are clear about their purpose, they can certainly get a head start in the direction of earning the love, respect and patronage of their stakeholders.
Why should brands discover their purpose?
Some of us want to go with the flow without knowing where we are headed. Either we do not care to know about it or are too lazy to visualise the future and plan for it. Hence, we consciously decide to live life as it happens and unfolds each day and each moment. That is one way of living and finding peace and joy.
When we live this way, we discover and explore our relationships as and when they happen. Similarly, brands can choose this kind of life; thus, they do not build strong loyalties with their stakeholders and lose the opportunity of reducing the cost of acquiring an order or a customer, hiring an employee, leveraging one’s influence and relationship with society and government.
How do they discover?
Some of us keep wavering about the direction to take along a journey. It is because we have not been able to make up our minds about the direction we take. It is not uncommon to see people changing their goals in life multiple times. Some of them settle down on one path after some time of exploration.
Similarly, brands find new pivots and take new directions. They change their product offerings, target segments and markets. Sometimes, they adopt new principles in their life because they find those to be relevant at that stage of their life. However, the point is that they do make changes in their path and settle down on a path; stay focused on it for a long time to build, mature and leverage their relationships with their stakeholders.
Listen to the stakeholders
Customers hold many expectations of the brands they use; among these, the most important ones are convenience, efficiency, friendly service, value for their money, and reliability. They value innovative offerings from brands. These are the findings from a PwC study; they merely reconfirm the information already known and highlight the relevance of the major expectations. Brands often do not review the experiences they are delivering to their customers and hence, do not know if they can improve and critically evaluate if they have deviated from the path of their choosing.
Mobile phones started rendering companies making point-and-shoot cameras redundant. Feature phones started losing their significance when smartphones started hitting the markets. Green energy has started catching the attention of policymakers and consumers. Ecommerce channels have started drawing a larger share of the overall spend of the consumers. Cryptocurrency has started making its presence felt. Many such trends affect a company either positively or negatively depending upon its context. If we follow the behaviours of the customers, employees, business partners, suppliers, competitors, society at large and the government, we will be able to get a good sense of the changes happening now as well as those on the horizon.
The owners and leaders of brands have to listen to these changes and ask themselves if their purpose is relevant and if their actions reflect the purpose they are committed to. If they do, the brands live long and run their operations efficiently.