Telefonica’s Jonathan Earle: ‘Purpose is king – it will set you apart and make you money’

Nearly every company understands ‘the what’ they are going to do and ‘the how’ they are going to do it but forget ‘the why’. Why are they are in business, why do their people get out of bed in the morning and why do their customers talk enthusiastically about the company with their friends and family. Purpose is essential for this.

Having a purpose changes the relationship with the customer from being transactional to emotional. To offer a few examples, Under Armour’s purpose is to make all athletes better, Kellogg’s wants to nourish families so they can flourish and thrive, Hiut Jeans want to make jeans in the town Cardigan and re-employ 400 people. Sweaty Betty has a purpose – to inspire women to be empowered through fitness.

Purpose is often missed as, frankly, it’s hard to create and then live by. If deployed correctly, however, it has real commercial benefits.

At O2, customers that have an emotional bond with our brand are cheaper to acquire, take more products and services and churn rate is lower.

Purpose comes from a variety of different sources:

  • Passion and huge amounts of energy. What are you most passionate about and can you get like-minded individuals to help create the movement with you.
  • Insights into the market-place. Why would anyone care about your movement?
  • Single minded focus. Hiut Jeans are very clear – ‘Be Narrow’

‘’The things that define you are not just the things that you do, but the things you say no to. Saying no is focus. We only make jeans. We say no to anything else. Be narrow. Be good.”

Once you have this purpose make sure that every proposition, every product, application and experience underpins that positioning and that every word on every press release and internal communication repeats exactly why you are doing what you are doing.

Having an emotional bond with your people also makes them ‘feel like giants’ – it cements why they get out of bed in the morning and why you don’t necessarily need to be paying as much as others.

There is a brilliant book by David Hieatt called ‘Do Purpose’ that shows why it is so essential in a world where barriers to entry are at an all time low and it has never been easier to be an entrepreneur to enter a market. Knowing what you are doing and how you will do it isn’t good enough anymore – take the time to work out why your customers will choose you over others and what will drive an emotional bond.

Purpose is king.


Find your brand purpose Marketoonist 12 3 15

Find your brand purpose

Tom Fishburne

  Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here