You can’t sell customers unless you’re able to tap into their deeper motivations to act. You need to find a deeper purpose that transcends what you make and connects with people on a human level.


No matter what technology you use or social platform you choose to work on, the truth of the matter is people aren’t likely to act on your offer unless what you’re doing strikes an emotional chord and inspires someone to do something. Brands are no longer an endpoint; they’re a jumping-off point. So your brand needs to be imbued with an actionable sense of purpose. We at 20nine spend a large portion of our time helping companies of all sizes and categories define their purpose and articulate it in what we call a Master Motivating Idea. A single-minded statement of truth that serves as a brand’s center of gravity. Its operating system. Here’s another way to look at it:


“I believe wholeheartedly that a new form of capitalism is emerging. More stakeholders, customers, employees, shareholders and the larger community want their businesses to have a purpose bigger than their product.”

Mats Lederhausen
Investor and former McDonald’s executive


What this means is that consumers are looking past pure product features and benefits and want to align with a shared sense of purpose that makes their life better in a bigger way. Which leads to the burning question, “Does your brand (or organization, for that matter) have a clearly defined sense of purpose?” Do you have a Master Motivating Idea that can serve as the engine for everything that you do?


For example, Airbnb taps into a person’s deeper sense of belonging and weaves this motivation into the overall story of the brand, including customers’ real-life stories of staying at an Airbnb property. In the QSR category, Taco Bell’s “Live Mas” mantra taps into their target audience’s motivation to “live more” and go after all that life has to offer – including, apparently, tacos wrapped up in a shell made of Doritos.


So the next time you sit down with your brand team or agency, start out by focusing on the deeper motivations of your core audience(s), not by talking about messaging, logos or the media platform du jour. Focus on the potential deeper motivations that will drive people to your door.