How Purpose-Driven Brands Win (3 Questions to Clarify Your Brand’s Purpose)

4 min read

"We are focused on developing technology to optimize clinical outcomes."

"Our mission is to enhance patient lives."

Have you ever noticed that life sciences companies often use the same phrases (and stock images) on their websites? It’s literally a sea of sameness. But it goes beyond just their digital presence.

They may have nailed their product and company design. But they lack that special something that grabs you and says, “Come join us!”

Meet category design.

It’s a business strategy that involves creating a new category or market (instead of competing in an existing one). Category design also consists of conditioning the market to need your solution—making a case for why it’s different and a superior option. By creating a new niche that’s free of competitors, you can dominate that space.

The most exciting companies create, according to the authors of Play Bigger. “They give us new ways of living, thinking, or doing business, many times solving a problem we didn’t know we had—or a problem we didn’t pay attention to because we never thought there was another way.”

Together, category design, product design, and company design form the three “Magic Triangle” pillars of success. Legendary entrepreneurs achieve the Magic Triangle by intentionally designing their product, company, and category in concert. In turn, they condition the market to position themselves as the market leader—Category Kings who typically capture 76% of the total category market capitalization.

The Magic Triangle

Synchronicity among these three pillars ensures that you’re creating a unique brand story or point of view, a core element of becoming a Category King. You’re identifying an urgent problem that—if solved can transform the world.

Category design can help you identify your brand purpose and make a lasting, positive impact that moves your customers to a better way of life. Let’s dig a little deeper into what brand purpose is and why it matters.

What is Brand Purpose?

Brand purpose is the overarching reason why your brand exists and what it contributes to the world. One of the early proponents of brand purpose was Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why. He introduced the idea of defining purpose to a global audience in his 2009 TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it,” says Sinek. “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

Having a clear brand purpose can help you attract top talent, industry KOLs, investors with deep pockets, and others eager to join your cause for transformational change.

Client Success Stories: Identifying Brand Purpose

Learn how two companies used the process of category design to better define their brand purpose.

Avalon Healthcare Solutions

Avalon Healthcare Solutions: Generating Actionable Lab-Driven Insights in Real-Time to Proactively Ensure Appropriate Care and Enhance Clinical Outcomes

Since 70% of clinical decisions are based on lab testing and results, it’s important to have the right test and the right diagnosis to inform the right care. Health plans are looking for a way to accelerate value-based care success.

Avalon brought Grey Matter Marketing in to apply category design (by clarifying the category, positioning, and messaging), create a market conditioning strategy, and assist with a brand relaunch.

With Grey Matter Marketing’s guidance, Avalon created a new category called Lab Insights to offer health plans a new pathway to success by digitizing lab results, applying algorithms, and creating actionable insights in real-time to better inform care—for individuals and populations.

The result: Avalon experienced exponential revenue growth and a 49% growth in talent acquisition in the past year.

Asensus Surgical

Asensus Surgical: Pioneering Performance-Guided Surgery to Provide the Best Outcome for Every Patient, Every Time

Robotics has been around for 20 years, but 1 in 5 surgeries still results in a complication, costing health systems billions of dollars each year. Asensus is elevating the standard of surgery by adding augmented intelligence and machine learning into the OR. The goal: unlock the clinical intelligence to mitigate surgical errors and complications—regardless of surgeon knowledge and experience—for consistently superior outcomes.

Asensus worked with Grey Matter Marketing to devise its rebranding strategy and create a new category that would be highly valued and highly differentiated in the surgical market.

The result: The company raised nearly $80 million in funding to make this vision a reality.

Defining Your Life Science Company's Purpose

These three questions—informed by category design—can help you define your brand purpose:

  1. What critical problem is your company solving?
    • What pain point are you solving for them?
    • How do they feel when they use your product?
  2. What meaningful impact is your company bringing to the world by solving this problem?
    • How would your product or service bring value to the world and ease your customer’s pain?
    • What are some of the issues that are important to your customers in the world?
    • How can you relate to their values, worries, and beliefs?
  3. What makes your company unique? Changemakers are different, not better. Different forces a choice while better forces a comparison. What makes you stand out from the competition?
    • Why is your different something your audience should care about?
    • What is your target audience getting from you or your products that they can’t find with other options?
    • Why is your competitor’s approach inferior to yours?

A great product is not enough for you to become a Category King. Your life sciences company has to stand for something and provide real tangible value to your customer. If you want people to join your cause to make the world a better place—which is a marathon versus a sprint—you must be able to communicate your unique point of view. Otherwise, you’re deciding to compete in an existing category for table scraps.

We applaud Avalon Healthcare Solutions and Asensus Surgical for making the bold decision to define their unique brand purpose and position themselves as Category Kings. We’re proud to partner with clients like these who believe in creating solutions for a brighter future.

Contact Grey Matter Marketing to uncover your brand’s purpose and turn it into action for meaningful business growth.

Want to uncover your brand's purpose?

Grey Matter Marketing is a full-service, award-winning PR and marketing agency working exclusively with life sciences companies. Learn how you can define, build, and market a brand purpose that feels true to your company—and forges a real connection with your ideal customers in the process. Get your brand purpose out into the world now. Contact us and let us help you take your company to the next level.


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