Big brands always have a purpose section on their sites, right? So do many start-ups. And B-Corp is a whole organisation built around the concept of the purpose of a brand. But how will having a brand purpose help you - SME, family-owned hotel, medium sized tourism provider, heck, even you, multinational company? 

It gives your unaware audience the opportunity to understand what you stand for before they learn more about you. It can help a potential customer decide to become a paying customer. And it will help you with your recruitment, as it gives people the chance to understand why you care about what you care about - and to see if it matches their ethical and moral code. 

Deep? Very probably. Impossible? In no way at all. Read on to find out how to wear your company heart on your branded sleeve without making people laugh.

What is a brand purpose? 

Simon Sinek launched a movement about purpose with his famous TED talk Why. In a nutshell, he exhorts business owners and company directors to “start with why”.  As individuals, we all need purpose to get out of bed in the morning, but we don’t all define our own purpose or why.  

For brands, purpose is used to set the course, find the way or provide clarity for direction of travel!

Having a brand purpose helps an organisation focus on why it exists and can play a massive part in everything from business decisions to finding and attracting the right people for the organisation. It will even influence how you talk to customers in your hotel or restaurant. Yes, it is that important! Get it right and it can help transform a business, leave it to chance and don’t expect employees or customers to hang around.

Content creators, Don’t Panic, explain brand purpose like this:

“A brand purpose is essentially a brand’s reason for being beyond making money…A brand purpose connects with consumers on a more emotional level... To clarify this, a brand purpose is about product-led initiatives which strive to simultaneously achieve business and benefit society

Great examples of brand purpose include:

  • Avanti’s Italian Restaurant - “We prepare and serve high quality, simple food, at a great value, in a home-like environment.”
  • CC’s Coffee House - “To serve everyone better than anyone else.”
  • Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group - “Do right and far exceed expectations daily.”

How brand purpose helps recruitment and retention

Attracting great employees to your business has never been more important. As the world starts economically rebuilding in the wake of covid19, we are starting to see high growth levels and fierce competition for talented people. 

Great brands are trusted and provide security for employees. Trust is important and prospective employees want to entrust their futures with brands they feel confident in. Really strong brands can even entice new talent at lower salary levels for these very reasons.

Hospitality businesses can use their brand purpose to articulate the emotional and aspirational essence of the reason why they should choose their organisation. It provides the foundations for the cultural expectations of all employees…the ‘DNA’ of the company. The brand purpose should also be related to the employee value proposition as Forbes outline in this article.


How can SMEs find their brand purpose? 

“Building an employer brand has more in common with archaeology than architecture. It’s not something you create out of nothing, but something you find by digging below the surface”

Elizabeth Baskin (Forbes)

Understanding where you are a business is the best starting point when building a brand purpose, which then leads to the question…where do we want to go? Consulting widely is a great way to engage employees and stakeholders in a conversation about purpose and what the important factors are that should be recognised, whether you are an employee or a customer.  

Why do we exist as a business? This is the most important question to ask. Sometimes there is a gap between what the leadership of an organisation wants and the reality that the employees or customers experience. 

Finding this gap through two-way conversations will provide the answers to closing it. Capturing this is a crucial step in developing brand purpose for SMEs in the hospitality industry. SMEs in the hospitality sector can follow these steps to find their brand purpose and start using it to improve talent attraction and retention

  1. Senior leaders should agree what the core values are for their business and live and breathe them! These should reflect what you would want people to say about your business.

  2. Set up two-way, group workshops to ask your people what is important to them – capture this and check if you have a gap between leaders and employees.

  3. Look outside your company, can you identify other businesses (in or out of your industry) who you would like to emulate?  What do they do that you don’t?

  4. Define your goals that you need to achieve to become the business you want to.

  5. Capture the essence of your “why” from this list and create your brand purpose. But note… this must transcend your financial goals!

  6. Make this brand purpose the most important thing that everyone in the organisation lives up to (Leaders and employees alike).

Hotels, restaurants, and other SMEs in the hospitality industry who want to rise to the upper echelons of their industry will ignore the importance of brand purpose at their own risk. Why not reflect today on your own organisation and ask these questions? Do we have a brand purpose? If not, why not? How can we start a process to develop our own brand purpose? What can I do today to start our brand purpose revolution?


→ ✅ Find out how to audit your employer brand in 5 steps.