Is Purpose Created or Uncovered?

By Calum Smith, Creative Strategist Calendar Icon 10 July 2023

There are two camps of thinking when it comes to whether purpose can be created or uncovered. You need only type ‘how to create your company purpose’ into Google to see over 10m results guiding you through the process. Aurora sits on the other side of this camp – purpose is uncovered, not created. We believe purpose exists in the hearts and minds of a founding team well before they sell their first product. 

I may have lost some of you there, but hear me out. Purpose is not only fundamental, but it is also wonderfully logical. Simply put, we believe a brand’s purpose is why a team gets out of bed in the morning and shows up for work. Here’s why we say a brand’s purpose has always existed; using the logic I just presented, if your brand didn’t have a purpose, you wouldn’t be in business as you are reading this. 

The logic also extends to how practical purpose can be. Your entire team shares your company’s purpose. Were you the only member of your team that showed up to work today? Probably not (unless you’re a sole proprietor). Aurora has helped numerous organisations develop their brand identities and architectures. In this process, over and over, we have had this logic reaffirmed by how relatively consistent teams are when it comes to what they feel their brand’s purpose is. Did you notice that I said the logic speaks to how practical purpose can be? The issue with purpose is it’s only powerful when it can be articulated and shared with the world – it is only through uncovering your purpose that you unlock its true power. 

So if every brand has a purpose, why don’t they just describe it to reap the benefits? Easier said than done. Remember when I said that the teams we’ve worked with are relatively consistent when it comes to what they feel their brand’s purpose is? Well, that is a half-truth. The sentiments and reasonings are generally shared amongst a team, but the words used to describe them vary greatly. This is what stops purpose work dead in its tracks for many brands who try to uncover and articulate it themselves. 

In the spirit of vulnerability, this is an issue we’ve experienced as a company for our own Aurora brand. We were all quite aligned in sentiment, but the words we used to describe our shared purpose were different. It required us to bring in an external, objective consultant who we trained in our way to uncover and then articulate our own purpose. Through developing numerous brands across sectors, Aurora has refined our own weirding way (for the Dune fans reading) of partnering with clients and helping them uncover their own purpose. The Aurora way is grounded in meaningful consultation with a diverse group of team members, talking to them individually, bringing them together, and then doing the heavy lifting of taking all that information to articulate their purpose.

It’s hard work but incredibly rewarding for not only marketing but the entire company. Seeing a whole organisation come together and have that aha moment, hearing the purpose that brings them all together articulated for the first time, is deeply fulfilling. 

From this stage, purpose becomes exceptionally practical; it provides the entire team with an even greater sense of meaning for their work. It gives a solid platform to build a brand that is genuinely unique and ownable. From this point, when marketing communications, campaigns, and websites are created using your newly developed brand, your entire team already feels ownership. They are seeing purpose come to life when we share it with the world. Purpose, after all, is the foundation upon which a brand is built. 

I know that some readers don’t have to be convinced. You’re ready to do the work to uncover your purpose. But rationalising the investment required in our uncertain, turbulent economic reality is a headache.  Purpose-driven brands are more profitable. The data is there. A global study by Zenogroup found that consumers were between 4 to 6 times more likely to purchase, trust, champion, and even protect brands with a strong purpose [1]. If that doesn’t push them over the line, share with them all the benefits to the team I mentioned above, and when you’re ready, Aurora is set to partner with you and help uncover your purpose unleashing its full potential.

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