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Brand Purpose and Packaging Design – Expressively Communicating the Meaning of the Brand

Brand Purpose and Packaging Design – Expressively Communicating the Meaning of the Brand

What makes your company unique? What qualities set it apart from the competition? Why does your brand exist? Given the abundance of similar offerings today, it is no longer enough to bring a useful product to market. There must be a deeper meaning behind it. A strong brand purpose is elementary for sustainable success. But what exactly does this term mean? And how is it possible to integrate the brand purpose into packaging design? In this article, we clarify the most important questions about this trendy topic.

What is a brand purpose?

The term ‘purpose’ comes from English and means something like “purpose, destiny, meaning”. Consequently, ‘Brand Purpose’ means the meaning and purpose of a brand. However, it is not about the fact that the products or services of the brand (should) make money; instead, the question of the brand’s raison d’être is in the foreground. What relevant added value does it offer society?

How is a brand purpose created?

A brand purpose is created when a brand takes a clear position on important issues concerning life, people and the environment, i.e. when it adopts a clear stance. Examples of such questions:

– How does our brand improve the ecological situation?
– Why do our company’s actions have a positive impact on our fellow human beings?
– What specific wishes and needs do our products fulfill?

However, the main question is and remains: Why does this brand exist, what is the purpose of its existence?

Successful examples of strong brand purposes

Apple, one of the largest corporations in the world, answers the question of its existential why by believing in challenging the status quo and thinking differently through each of its actions. The company professes to challenge the status quo by designing “beautiful, easy-to-use and user-friendly” products, making “great computers.”

Vodafone’s Brand Purpose is expressively summed up by the company’s own slogan, “Connect for a better future.” Through the ambiguously interpretable term ‘connect’, the brand succeeds in harmoniously linking the meaning of its products with the purpose of the campaign it launched, which advocates equal rights. Because “Vernetzen” picks up on fast, reliable Internet connections on the one hand and social togetherness on the other. Vodafone’s social positioning is thus clear and makes perfect sense.

But the brand purpose doesn’t always have to be so big that it improves the whole world. It can also be rooted in a supposedly small detail: A German confectioner named Peggy Porschen, who works and lives in England, gives her customers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a fairy-tale world for a few moments – thanks to artfully decorated cakes in an equally fabulous ambience.

All of these are strong brand purposes primarily because many people can identify with them, or at least want to. They appeal to consumers emotionally – and that, as we know, always has the best effect when it comes to generating and retaining customers.

Important: The brand purpose must be authentic and transparent, otherwise it can have a very negative effect. If, for example, a company advertises with the purpose of promoting a better life through science, but then uses materials, substances or ingredients that are demonstrably harmful, it immediately destroys any trust on the part of consumers and certainly has the greatest difficulty in rebuilding it afterwards.

How can the brand purpose be communicated?

The above examples already show the direction in which it primarily goes. In order to communicate their own brand purpose, most companies primarily use linguistic means. Often, these are concise slogans that summarize the meaning and purpose of the brand.

Such claims can of course be marketed excellently and easily integrated almost everywhere, including packaging design. In fact, packaging can be deliberately used to present the brand purpose to consumers; after all, packaging is typically the first more direct contact a consumer has with a brand, along with any promotional posters and other public advertising.

Consequently, it is advisable to present one’s own Brand Purpose on the packaging in as meaningful and creative a way as possible. This can be achieved with slogans, but also with emotional images.


Nowadays, whether a brand is successful depends less and less on what it produces and more on why it exists. This requires every company to develop a strong brand purpose and to communicate it expressively. Packaging design offers excellent opportunities to show consumers what the brand’s purpose is and what added value it brings to society.

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