Brand purpose

According to Bob Hoffman, brand purpose is largely horseshit.

The idea that the brands are intensely important and people spend time and energy exploring their meaning and trustworthiness is a deeply ingrained marketing fantasy.

For most people, their relationship with most of the brands they buy is shallow, transactional, and contingent. Brands are not nearly as important or meaningful as we think they are.

Are there some brands we’re attached to? Everyone has a handful. But with consumers facing thousands of brands, the likelihood of yours being one of the handful they’re strongly attached to is absurdly small.

Of course, there are major brands like Apple that have loyal customers for whom the brand is very meaningful. These special brands are two or three standard deviations from normal and unless you’ve spent 30 decades and billions of dollars advertising to billions of people, your brand ain’t one of them.

Stop someone on the street and ask them what the difference is between BMW and Mercedes-Benz? Ask them for the difference between Coke and Pepsi? Ask them how Nike is different from Adidas?

Hoffman is prepared to bet a very large sum of money that their responses will have little to no correlation to the strategic documents floating around those brands’ headquarters. And these are some of the most successful brands in the world.

These brands are not successful because they have a brand purpose.

They’re successful because they’re famous.

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