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Brand Success: The Power of Purpose in B2B

Profile photo of Martyn McDermott.

By Martyn McDermott

11 min read

A person holding out a compass as an analogy for setting a brand purpose

In a world where fierce competition and industries constantly evolve, it can be easy to feel lost in the shuffle.

What if there was a way to stand out and show how you make a meaningful difference in your industry?

Well, that's where the power of purpose comes in.

Defining a clear purpose for a B2B business can have a significant impact on driving positive outcomes. Purpose can provide direction, motivation, and a sense of belonging for employees, as well as differentiate a company's brand in a crowded marketplace. Additionally, having a purpose can also help attract customers who share similar values and goals.

The majority of B2B purchasing decision-makers choose to source from companies with a well-articulated purpose and are willing to pay more for their products and services.

ANA, The B2B Purpose Paradox

In this article, we'll explore the importance of purpose in business, how to define your purpose and practical ways to incorporate purpose-driven actions into your daily work. Get ready to unleash the power of purpose and make a positive impact.

Defining purpose in B2B organisations

Purpose, is the reason why a business exists beyond making a profit.

In other words, it is ‘why’ a business was founded, the reason it has evolved, and what it aims to achieve. This is referred to as your Stated Purpose, and will be the focus of this article.

Purpose is becoming increasingly important in business as consumers and employees seek to align with companies with a clear mission and values. Defining it can be challenging. It requires introspection and a deep understanding of company values.

However, It is not simply a matter of creating a catchy tagline or fancy-sounding mission statement. Purpose should be woven into the organisation's fabric, reflected in every aspect of its operations and lived by every organisation member. This is referred to as an Activated Purpose.

The benefits of having a purpose-driven business

We mentioned that having a purpose-driven business can bring numerous benefits, so what are they?

Guiding decision-making and strategy

A purpose-driven approach sets the direction for the entire business operation. It establishes a beacon that guides decision-making and strategy formulation. In the sea of competition and market fluctuations, staying focused on what your B2B organisation does best and what it seeks to accomplish long-term becomes more manageable with a well-defined purpose. This leads to differentiation, making your unique strengths and values shine brighter than your competitors.

Attract and retain top talent

As the corporate world evolves, employees increasingly seek meaning and purpose in their work. A clear and resonating mission can make your company a talent magnet. It can make your organisation stand out to the top-notch professionals who align with your mission and are driven by similar values.

Drive innovation

A clearly stated purpose is not merely a guide; it's also an inspiration. It fuels innovation by encouraging new ideas aligned with the company's core goals. It steers the company clear of short-term trends or fads, ensuring the focus remains on what it does best.

Build stronger relationships with customers

Customers today are interested in more than what you sell; they are also concerned with what you stand for. A clear mission and value proposition can connect you with like-minded customers, building a community that resonates with your values and believes in your purpose.

Competitor advantage

In a saturated market, standing out is paramount. A well-articulated purpose can differentiate your company, accentuating your unique strengths and values. It helps build a distinctive brand that your customers, employees, and competitors recognise and respect.

Examples of purpose-driven B2B companies

There are numerous examples of purpose-driven B2B companies that have successfully differentiated themselves from their competitors through their commitment to their mission.


One such company is Tenzo, a restaurant operations platform whose purpose is to improve operational efficiency and reduce food waste for restaurants & retailers. Their raison d'être is not just about providing a high-quality service or product. It's about making a tangible impact on society and the environment by helping businesses become less wasteful. This reduces humanity's impact on the planet and cultivates more efficient businesses that can grow faster and more sustainably.

Tenzo skilfully communicates its brand purpose across all their digital communication channels. They share their mission on their website, in their marketing materials, and across social media platforms. Furthermore, they regularly feature stories and interviews with customers who have successfully adopted Tenzo's platform and, as a result, managed to reduce waste and increase profitability. Through these stories, Tenzo effectively underscores its purpose and vision, demonstrating how they help restaurants become more efficient and environmentally responsible.


Unilever, a global consumer goods company, also exemplifies a business with a clear purpose. They aim to make sustainable living commonplace, reflecting this purpose in their products designed to be environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. Their purpose, values, and principles page clearly communicates their commitment:

To succeed requires the highest standards of corporate behaviour towards everyone we work with, the communities we touch, and the environment on which we have an impact.


Both of these examples highlight how defining and acting upon a business purpose can differentiate a company in its marketplace, engage customers and employees, drive innovation, and foster a more sustainable and socially responsible enterprise. There are many examples of purpose-driven B2B companies that have successfully differentiated themselves from their competitors.

Identifying your business's purpose

It's worth repeating what we said earlier. Your stated purpose should be woven into the organisation's fabric and activated in every aspect of its operations.

To identify your business's purpose, start by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  • Why does your company exist beyond making a profit?

  • What do you do for whom, and with what benefit and goal?

  • What are your company's core values?

  • What unique strengths does your company bring?

  • What are the positive impacts you want to achieve?

  • What do you want to contribute to a world worth living in?

Run workshops around these questions, and synthesise responses from all areas of your business. You will soon be able to distil your findings to a common core essence already flowing through your company.

Top tip - It can help you generate better answers if you ask individuals to answer these questions themselves before coming together to share and find new solutions in a workshop format.

Once you have honed in on your business's purpose, it is essential to communicate it clearly to your employees and stakeholders. As we mentioned earlier (#Guiding Decision-making and Strategy), this will help ensure everyone is aligned with the company's mission and values and working towards the same goals.

Incorporating purpose into your brand messaging

Once you have identified your business's purpose, you can weave it into your brand messaging. Communicating your purpose to customers is essential to building a purpose-driven company.

You will need a strategy for communicating your purpose clearly and consistently across all your marketing channels, including your website, social media, and advertising.

Your purpose should be reflected in your brand's visual identity, messaging, and tone of voice. It should also be reflected in the types of products and services you offer and how you interact with your customers.

It is also essential to communicate the impact that your company is making in the industry and how your customers can contribute to that impact. This can include sharing stories of how your products or services are making a difference, highlighting your sustainability initiatives, or inviting customers to participate in volunteer or social impact initiatives.

Overcoming challenges in implementing a purpose-driven strategy

Implementing a purpose-driven strategy can be challenging, especially in industries traditionally focused on short-term profits and shareholder value.

Some of the challenges that you may face include:

  • resistance from stakeholders,

  • difficulty in measuring impact,

  • and need for more resources or support.

Building a solid business case for your purpose-driven strategy and communicating the benefits to your stakeholders is essential to overcome these challenges.

So refer back to the benefits detailed earlier in the article, and maybe consider some of these points too:

Building trust and loyalty with customers

Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on a company's values and impact on society. Businesses with a clear purpose often build more profound, lasting customer relationships, leading to brand loyalty.


Purpose-driven companies have shown more resilience in tough economic times. Their strong relationships with customers and employees and their innovative capabilities allow them to adapt and endure.

Improved financial performance

Several studies suggest that purpose-driven companies outperform their counterparts in the long run. For instance, the EY Beacon Institute and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report found that companies that embedded purpose into their business strategy witnessed higher growth rates.


A clear purpose often leads businesses to consider their operations' environmental and societal impacts. By doing so, they're not only contributing positively to the world but also ensuring their business's longevity by aligning with society's sustainable expectations.

In a nutshell, your business case for a purpose-driven strategy should demonstrate how your business will create meaningful impacts while ensuring sustained growth and profitability, act as a guiding star, align business operations towards a common goal, and enhance the overall performance and reputation of the organisation.

The role of employees in activating purpose-driven companies

We've already mentioned that having a clear sense of purpose can help attract and retain top talent, but it is also essential to ensure that your employees are aligned with the company's mission and values.

Involve your employees and stakeholders in the process and provide them opportunities to contribute to the company's purpose and impact, as well as making it an acceptable option to vote with their feet if they aren't aligned or comfortable with the choices being made.

This means creating a culture that supports your purpose and values and empowering your employees to make decisions aligned with those values.

Provide your employee's opportunities to contribute to the company's purpose and make a meaningful difference in the industry. Encourage volunteering, participating in sustainability initiatives, or working on projects that align with the company's mission.

Measuring the impact of your purpose-driven business

Measuring the impact of your purpose-driven business is essential to ensure that you are making a meaningful difference in the industry.

Set clear goals and metrics for measuring your impact and regularly track and report on those metrics.

Examples of metrics that you can track include customer satisfaction, employee engagement, sustainability metrics, and social impact metrics.

Regularly review and update your purpose and impact metrics to ensure that they remain relevant and meaningful.

The importance of purpose in shaping the future of B2B brand experience

As we navigate the intricacies of the B2B world, defining or updating your business purpose serves as a compass, leading to a destination of success and sustainability. It's not just about being in business; it's about understanding why you are in it. Companies can unlock new paths to success by recognising the power of purpose.

There's a lot in here to take in. So let's conclude with the summary headlines:

  • Purpose is becoming increasingly important in the business world as consumers and employees alike seek to align with companies that have a clear sense of mission and values.

  • In B2B organisations, purpose can help guide decision-making and create a sense of direction for the entire company.

  • Purpose can also help a B2B organisation differentiate itself from its competitors by highlighting its unique strengths and values.

  • Identifying your business's purpose requires introspection and a deep understanding of what your company stands for.

  • Once you have identified your business's purpose, it is essential to communicate it clearly to your employees and stakeholders and incorporate it into your brand messaging.

  • A clear sense of purpose can bring numerous benefits, including attracting and retaining top talent, driving innovation, and building stronger customer relationships.

  • Measuring the impact of your purpose-driven business is essential to ensure that you are making a meaningful difference in the industry.

Ultimately, purpose is the key to making a meaningful difference in your industry. By defining your unique purpose and aligning your actions, you can create a sense of direction and clarity that drives positive impact.

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