Looking to the future to stand out today

27 April 2020Download PDF

Robert PepperStrategy Partner

robert@pslondon.co.uk020 7375 6450

A little time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, we published an opinion paper challenging brands to focus on an authentic purpose built on who they are, rather than “borrowing” something that’s current, but may not really be true to them.

We highlighted premium automotive brands that were talking as if their purpose was to support the environment. In reality, they should be authentic about the fact that they exist to make your heart skip a beat when you put your foot down

That’s still true, but something very interesting has happened over the past year or so.

Brands that traditionally have not thought about their true purpose have been finding that if they look hard enough, they realise they don’t exist just to make money for their shareholders; they are there for a higher purpose.

Brand have realised they don’t exist just to make money for their shareholders; they are there for a higher purpose.

Why is this happening? Is it a sudden case of businesses waking up to a moral and social responsibility? Maybe, but it’s more that they are starting to listen to their customers in a way they hadn’t before.

Consumers – and business decision makers – are clearly saying that it really does matter to them that the brands they choose share their values and principles. Doing the right thing is becoming important to even the most unlikely businesses. It could be because we are living in a more and more polarised world. Or it could be because brands like Nike decided to take a stand with their now famous campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. Declaring where they stood on an important social issue has been a huge success for Nike and it’s probably given other brands the confidence to think about where they stand.

But how do you go about finding your true purpose if you’re a utility, a financial services organisation or a tech brand, for example?

What if it doesn’t leap out from your company archive (who even has one?) and when you ask, your CEO reminds you about delivering this year’s targets? The answer lies in the future, not the past. By looking to the future and building a vision of your brand in that future, it is possible to work out – or reconnect with – a higher purpose than simply hitting your business target.

Using Futurethinking*, we’ve helped brands in just about every sector articulate a compelling future vision and bring that to life. Sometimes that requires a major re-brand; other times it has been a smart repositioning campaign. Getting this right requires a top down and from-the-heart approach, otherwise it risks not being authentic to who you really are.

It’s not as hard to get started as you might think. A Futurethinking* workshop is all it takes to start to build that new vision and take the first step to your new future.

A FutureThinking workshop can take just a few hours and can be held virtually

And in case you’re wondering, we’ve recently been through this ourselves. It reminded us that pslondon started 12 years ago with a clear purpose – to help brands everywhere to solve problems by creating breakthroughs with brand differentiation and engaging narrative. Re-connecting with our purpose has helped us hire the best people and find the right clients. Plus, it’s helped us express what we do in just two words: Problem Solved

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