When it comes to purpose, people look for connection – authentic connection to other people, being seen for who they are, and accepted to be enough as they are. Part of marketing and branding is to create and facilitate communities that share emotions and practices, which further bring people together. But dense webs of shared meanings and values are formed when people work together. This got us thinking about the interlocking power of purpose, connection, and community.
We live in a world in which most people would not care if 74% of the brands did not exist tomorrow. Organizations are driven to create brands that have a purpose and have a deeper reason to be part of people's lives. The purpose is the reason for our actions and creations, and also for our existence. Often brands start from creating a purpose for the brand and aiming to build a connection with the consumer that shapes communities.
AUTHENTICITY DRIVING BRAND CONNECTIONS TO COMMUNITIES
If you can create an authentic purpose that is relatable to your target audience, you can facilitate connection and community, which in terms will result in loyalty. Vulnerability and authenticity are required for people to be able to create meaningful connections. For brands, this often boils down to transparency in all levels of their operations and communications. Authenticity in branding is the birthplace for purpose-driven brands that create secure connections and meaning within the community.
BEING PART OF PEOPLES EVERYDAY LIVES AS THE COMMUNITY HELPER
Flatirons Community Church is a thriving Christian megachurch based in Colorado that has been able to create an authentic brand within the community. People of the community are proud to be associated with the church and the Flatiron community. A majority of the attendees represent their community, for example, by placing the brand sticker on their cars or purchasing Flatirons' own merchandise. At the beginning of the establishment, the church was able to create a purpose that served the community with an authentic connection - which leads them to experience rapid growth within the society of Colorado. However, change and growth do not come without growing pains. One major challenge was to keep that authentic and close connection to the people of Colorado as the church was growing. Thus, the brand was pushed to rethink its operations and relationship with the community. After the situation analysis, they were able to create strategies to rebuild their connection to their audience and strengthen their purpose as a brand. They have become community helpers in a variety of ways through vulnerable encounters. For example, creating God behind bars, having small bible study groups lead by the community members themselves, and by being part of the community events.
INTERLOCKING PURPOSE, CONNECTION, AND COMMUNITY
In conclusion, the equation of purpose, connection, and community are interlocked for branding. For a brand to be successful in each of the variables, it is challenged to be more authentic than ever. By being vulnerable in front of individuals, organizations can make a real impact on the communities that they are serving. Having a purpose-driven connection to shape a community requires authenticity and vulnerability, which is the actual definition of bravery.