You can read more about shared purpose in our guide to narrative.
Once you have your Shared Purpose, the next step is to define your Strategic Narrative.
The narrative explains how the shared purpose will be fulfilled. It transforms your purpose from a tagline into a philosophy.
The narrative must align to your Brand DNA, connecting the past, present and future.
The narrative also defines your relationship. Think of the Shared Purpose like a pot-luck dinner.
- Some people bring the entrée.
- Some bring the salad.
- Some bring the dessert.
The narrative tells everyone what to bring to the party.
With its slogan of Just Do It!, Nike is saying, “We’ll bring the shoes and equipment. You bring your passion and commitment.”
Starbucks’ mission is to “inspire and nurture the human spirit.”
As a Shared Purpose, it passes the t-shirt test.
But it’s Starbucks’ Strategic Narrative that truly brings it to life.
The essence of this narrative is the concept of “third place.”
In 1983, CEO Howard Schultz visited Italy and saw how coffeehouses fostered conversation, connection and community, and brough that ethos back to the United States.
In his book Onward, Schultz writes how, for a while, the company lost this narrative and financial performance suffered.
Schultz has said,
“Starbucks is not a coffee company that serves people. It is a people company that serves coffee. Emotional connection is our true value proposition.”
You can read more about Strategic Narrative and Shared Purpose on our Narrative page and in the Narrative Workbook.
Competing on Gravity
Apple and Google demonstrate the power of Brand Orbits.
Consider how you chose an Android or Apple smartphone.
It probably wasn’t about the megapixels in the camera.
Apple and Google have created competing gravity systems. Both have app stores usable only for their operating system, as well as special features:
- Apple has iTunes, Genius Bars, Facetime and Siri.
- Google has Search, Maps, Gmail and YouTube.
Each of these systems creates an ongoing relationship that extends far beyond the purchase of the phone.
The choice between Apple and Google is not “which product will I buy?” but “whose orbit will I be in?”
The future of competition is who can generate more gravity.