If you’re building a brand in 2021, listen up

Sara Budhwani
5 min readJan 4, 2021
Source: HTTP://sarabudhwani.com/brandingforpurpose

In 2020, we saw brands exceed and brands fold.

Building a brand to survive in the future, amongst all of tomorrow's uncertainties, is a difficult task. What are the formulas or recipes for a successful brand?

Branding for Purpose

There are two types of branding: building a brand that follows demand, or building a brand that leads with purpose.

You may have heard terms like value-based, purpose-driven, or blue ocean strategies. They’re all essentially saying the same thing.

You’re either building a brand that follows what people want, or a brand with a purpose to exist — because it gives it therefore gets.

Anyone can essentially build a brand these days, it’s become dangerously easy. Consumers are increasing their awareness of disloyalty and commercialism.

The ones that succeed, think about their branding no matter what stage they’re at with their business.

The secret is having a clear branding foundation to guide all your business decisions. Once you have a clear purpose, everything just flows consistently, and consistency is the key to trust.

This new wave of branding has clearly proven to be successful for many brands.

But let’s not talk about the countless case studies and research that prove in order to succeed in the future, you need to be built by purpose. Let’s talk about how you can be built by purpose.

When I speak about purpose I mean purpose to exist, purpose in your market, purpose for your consumers.

Your purpose is what will essentially be your guiding principle, that golden nugget that determines all of your business decisions. Everything flows from your purpose.

I’ve looked at the recipes that differentiate a brand from a successful brand, one that actually will succeed in the future. Because consumers are constantly changing the way they shop.

It’s not just about having a logo, some colour swatches, and a book of guidelines you’re never really going to follow anyway.

There’s a great quote by Elon Musk — who clearly knows a lot about branding for purpose — “Putting in long hours for a corporation is hard. Putting in long hours for a cause is easy.”

And that’s exactly what we’re getting at. What is your cause? Ask yourself where do you give meaning?

I’ve been working in marketing for over 8 years and specifically building brand strategies for the past year. And I can tell you one thing — the answer isn’t the same for all brands.

Every brand I do a strategy workshop shop for needs to be tailored to that brand. There is no one recipe for building a successful brand.

However, what I have been able to determine is there are 5 main pillars of a successful brand.

The 5 pillars of a successful brand

They are:

Know your customer: What do they really want? Your customer should be at the core of your brand because they’re ultimately going to determine the success of your business.

Position your brand: How do you stand within your market? How you position your brand in the minds of your consumers is how people are going to remember you.

USP and RTB’s : What makes you unique and why are you credible? Being a sustainable brand is not unique. Offering great customer service is not unique. Your USP depends heavily on the purpose of the entire business, and how you provide value to your customers. And most importantly, how can you prove it?

Brand personality: How do you come to life and what do you say? Think of brands as people. People like it when others are approachable, genuine, friendly, etc. So it’s important your brand has a human component to it — a personality.

Define your strategies: How and where do you exist? You’ve formulated your brand, you already have an amazing product/service, and potentially already have a team. Now you’re ready to send it out to the world and just.. pray? How you go to market heavily involves your branding.

There are tons of ways to get to each of these pillars, whichever model you choose should be tailored to your needs. But the main key step is getting there, and bringing it all together to create a seamless flow.

Where do you start?

The truth is, if you just do a simple Google search to help you find the answers to the pillars above, you’re going to find yourself deep in a rabbit hole of potential models, resources, and tools. You might just give up and hire an expert.

Luckily, I’ve created a workshop that curates all the best resources and tools to help you get to your pillars. The same method that one brand uses to get its core might be different for you. So from the resources I’ve compiled, the point is to choose the ones that tailor to your brand and your market.

Each chapter is set up for you to first learn, then research, compile your thoughts by brainstorming, and then define your answers.

Use the workshop on your own or with your team. At the end of the workshop, you’ll have a fully developed brand strategy that you can take to any creative or studio to build your brand assets, to any marketer to build your marketing plans, etc. This essentially will be your brand bible.

The workshop is designed to help you get to your core, bring it out in every touchpoint, to the point where you know your brand inside and out.

You might not have all the answers right now, but as long as you have a guiding principle to help make all of your business decisions, from your marketing to product development to operations, employees, etc., the consistency will eventually just grow.

So if you want your brand to grow in the future, this workshop is for you. It’s a Google Slides document and can be used by branding beginners to experts. It’s available for only €40 plus tax, get it here.

Recipe for testing your brand

You might be thinking, how will you know if you’ll have the right answers are not?

The truth is, if it’s your brand, you already have the answers. You just need to be guided to help bring them out and define them in a way that makes them smart and actionable.

If you’re unsure how your brand stands, you can use this checklist of questions. The goal is to answer yes to all of them.

  • Can you easily explain to a stranger what your brand is?
  • Did they understand it?
  • Could they say it back to you?
  • Did they remember it after some time?

If you don’t answer yes, then I highly recommend you give the workshop a try.

Branding experts can help you further with getting to your answers if you need additional help. Here’s a link to get in touch with me if you have any additional questions.

And I hope together we can build more purpose-driven brands for the future.



Sara Budhwani

I’m a freelance brand & creative strategist based in Amsterdam. I enjoy writing to spark new perspectives and share insights. Let’s chat www.sarabudhwani.com