Is a purpose led brand strategy right for your business?

Last Friday we attended the first #RoosterTalks chat, (formerly known as the Holt Business Network), which saw Peter Quintana from Higher Growth Knowledge Company share insights on purpose and strategy.


Peter kicked off the conversation by reminding us all of the difference between purpose and mission – two words which are often used interchangeably, but actually have very different meanings.


PURPOSE is the reason for which something is done, is created or exists, whilst MISSION is an operation or undertaking. We can therefore treat purpose as the ‘why’ and treat mission as the ‘what’ when it comes down to analysing our business - why it exists and what is it that we do.


Realising your true potential

Peter spoke about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and the position of purpose at the top of the scale – achieving one’s full potential, (or as Maslow terms it, self-actualisation). 

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
It is only once we have the fundamental securities in place that we are able to reach this point as individuals and as a wider business. And the most engaged employees see where they fit within that business, with a clear view of why it exists and the direction it’s heading in. 

The deeper search for purpose

When it comes down to our work, we all want to know, “why am I doing this?” and “what impact am I making?” When purpose is unclear or lacks authenticity, impact and emotional connection suffers. Employees become disengaged.

We must start with the ‘why’ before we establish the ‘how’ and the ‘what’, because brands thrive most successfully when their purpose transcends profit

Show up to work with your heart, not just your body

Taking a step back in time, Peter took us through the evolution of business models and performance management. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, meritocratic business was the norm and people would progress at work (or not) in a top-down hierarchical structure.

Eco-friendly businesses then took centre stage, seeing organisations bump up their corporate social responsibility efforts to generate employee engagement and a positive brand image.

But it is teal businesses, (or self-managed businesses) which have more recently come to
our attention as an alternative way to structure ourselves at work. The chart below describes how a ‘Teal’ business – a term coined by Frederic Laloux, a Belgian politician, is united by a higher purpose, with a self-managed hierarchy.

Teal Business Model
Purpose led business 

It is essential that Teal businesses position purpose at their core, to make their ‘flat’ structure work. By removing the hierarchy of managers and placing trust in each individual to showcase leadership and innovation skills, the sense of community and equality is tangible. The brand becomes more trusting, more authentic and people are able to work on projects that they are passionate about.

Establishing a set of agreed policies and working practices ensures that “the way we work here” is clear to all.

Investing in a culture based on peer to peer relations, aligned values, coaching, mentoring, and teamwork are central to teal businesses. These practices are then used to determine payrises, performance management and recruitment.

Flattening the structure of a business and ensuring purpose sits at the heart of the business can be a great tactic for boosting employee engagement.

Our 5 top tips for writing your purpose statement

Here are a round up of Peter’s top tips to writing your brand purpose statement:

  • Make it unique – communicate how you set your business apart from the rest
  • Combine emotional and rational – ensure your statement targets hearts and minds
  • Use plain language – keep it simple and memorable
  • Inspire others – motivate people to want to work with/for you
  • Ensure timelessness – your purpose should surpass your own time spent at the business and live on long after you’ve gone


Many thanks to Peter for a fantastic talk, until the next time!