When brand executives come to us with what they think is a positioning problem these days, we typically have an entirely different diagnosis. Usually, it’s a purpose problem.

Positioning around a functional or emotional benefit isn’t enough anymore, with purpose instead emerging as the heartbeat of modern brands and as a key ingredient in what makes a brand become — and stay — relevant. Brands with purpose stand for something beyond their product or service, and consumers know it. These are brands that can always answer two questions: What do we believe? And why do we exist?

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