Having been fortunate to work at both established FMCG companies and tech companies, I have been exposed to the different perspectives on brand-building. One of the main short-comings within tech companies is that they do not understand the value of creating brand love by championing a bigger purpose and demonstrating that intent through their actions and through their communications. Instead, many tech companies believe that solely focusing on their functional attributes such as savings or selection is what is going to drive the traffic that they desire. This may be true in the very short-term, but will definitely not be sustainable and certainly won’t create brand love because there is no purpose that consumers can rally behind.
It is therefore so unusual and refreshing to see brands such as Airbnb be brave enough to take the high ground and then invest in demonstrating this to the world at large. In doing so they firmly put a stake in the ground that will profoundly shape their company: it will send a clear signal to those interested in becoming hosts letting them know whether they are welcome in the community; it will evangelise existing hosts to up their game in respect to service; and it will set clear expectations for consumers of what Airbnb believes in and what kind of experience they can expect by using the platform and entering their community. Have a look.
The power in championing a bigger purpose is that a brand can tap into a powerful human value that will stand the test of time. We simply need to look at Nike to confirm this. They continue to pump out brilliant work that renews your love in the brand. What is remarkable with their work is that their functional prowess is rarely explicitly communicated but always powerfully reinforced. This is not because they are a universally recognised brand and that they have the license to be more purpose driven. Not at all. By showing the motivation that they are championing, they are establishing their role in helping consumers achieve it. Have a look.