First remembering what it came into this world to do can keep brands on the straight and narrow

What does a brand mission mean to you? In the instance of Caleño, we wanted to ‘bring joy to those not drinking’. Five years ago, not drinking had connotations of shame, stigma and often ridicule, so I set about changing that narrative. Thankfully, social norms are changing and these days it’s no longer a case of all or nothing. Moderation is celebrated in the form of ‘Damp January’, and (coming soon from Caleño) ‘So-So Sober October’ as a more semi-sober, enjoyable middle ground.

By clearly understanding what we were brought here to do, we’ve been able to navigate our way through challenges that may otherwise have diverted us down a wayward path. A few of those challenges have included hiring the right people and showing up distinctively in an intensely competitive space. Quite early on, identifying the right brand values to meet our mission became crucial in ensuring we’d recruited correctly. Two character traits – ‘positive’ and ‘personable’ – were quickly established as ‘must-haves’ during the recruitment process, ensuring that the people who represented our brand brought energy, passion and charisma where it mattered.

Another common challenge facing brands is ensuring you stand out in what is often a highly competitive landscape. Focusing too heavily on product attributes and functional benefits can leave you in murky waters. Completely forgetting that consumers are emotional beings with short memories will be only to your detriment.

In Caleño’s case, a line of carnival dancers shimmying down the supermarket aisle to the tune of ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ for a new product launch keeps us true to our Colombian heritage, and helps keep our mission alive. Not to mention, it helps us remain memorable.

Of course, there is always room for improvement, and brands should always seek to evolve in order to remain competitive. But first remembering what it came into this world to do can keep you on the straight and narrow.

The true acid test is challenging someone to describe your brand or company to you in three words. What words would they use? If they aren’t aligned to the way you would describe your brand, then it’s time to dust off the brand strategy archives and revisit your original mission.