The problem with brand purpose

by Tom Albrighton 8 September 2018 Branding, Copywriting reviews

The little phrase ‘we believe’ shows in a nutshell how ‘brand purpose’ gets in the way of a sale.

Take this pack copy for a leading cracker brand.

Because ‘we believe’ is at the start, it makes everything that follows about the brand, not the reader. The main point, which is about (the reader’s) healthy living, is subordinated to the brand’s ego.

Saying ‘we believe’ turns a simple opinion into something snooty and pious. You’re emotionally blackmailing the reader into agreeing. We can argue with people’s opinions, but we have to respect their beliefs.

You’re also ‘laddering up’ from the physical world – where your reader lives, and where they’ll be when they read you – to the abstract world of ideas and principles.

Now, the current fashion is for all brands to get as far up that ladder as they can. But is it really right for a lunchtime snack? And if everyone does it (which is what millennials want, apparently), how will brands stand out?

Delete ‘we believe’ and you usually get something simpler, more reader-centric and less judgemental.

You can read more about keeping your feet on the ground when writing copy in chapter 12 of Copywriting Made Simple.

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