Today, brands aren’t judged by who they are; they’re judged by what they do.
The global pandemic has placed an unprecedented burden on the world economy and played a major role in the way consumers shop, live, travel, learn, exercise and connect.
With world problems exposed like never before, companies are being forced to take a closer look at humanity and seriously consider their role in a changing world.
What does this mean for business?
As we move into 2021, consumers, especially Millennials and Generation Z who have a combined buying power of over $350 billion in the United States alone,*, are challenging outdated business models that fail to resonate with what they really want – brands with purpose.
Sustainability-conscious consumers are driving companies to reevaluate their core values and invest where it matters. In a recent announcement, ,Unilever confirmed that part of their $2.4B investment plans will be dedicated to the development of purpose-driven brands that resonate with consumers, fight climate change and social inequality.
Unilever is also set to prioritise partnerships with companies that offer employees a living wage, significantly increase spending on suppliers owned or operated by people from underrepresented groups and improve the skills of its workforce.
Long-term value creation is shifting gear and companies that fail to meet the demand for purpose-driven brands are likely to find the coming years tougher than ever.
Why does brand purpose matter?
Putting purpose at the core of your business has become a game-changer. Brands that are motivated beyond profit are witnessing significant progress internally and externally.
Brand purpose has been around for a long time. You just have to think of Anita Roddick at The Body Shop, Yvon Chouinard at Patagonia and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s to understand that mission-driven brands date back to the 70s.
What makes these brands especially important is that they look at business differently. These companies were driven by a desire to solve a global problem while building a sustainable business.
The Body Shop was influenced by Anita’s passion for human rights and a determination to end animal testing. Patagonia grew from a need for more reliable, sustainable clothing and mountaineering-related products. Ben & Jerry’s was derived from the founders’ value systems that centred around sustainable practices and environmental education.
Thirty years’ later and these brands are still loved because of their long-term value appeal. They weren’t built for the sole purpose of making money. These aspirational brands were formed to make a significant change in our world – a winning formula for the future of brands.
The benefits these companies experience go much farther than simply standing the test of time; they’ve pioneered change, built a loyal following, empowered employees and grown exponentially. They are associated with trust, progress AND profit.
Is there a drawback to becoming a purpose-driven company?
If you’re a founder, CEO, business leader or marketer weighing up the option of becoming a purpose-driven company, there is an important non-negotiable to consider: your commitment to purpose must be authentic.
Greenwashing, false promises and moving into the purpose-driven space without an authentic brand purpose marketing strategy could do more harm than good.
Businesses aren’t expected to abandon profits in exchange for purpose, but the power of purpose should be taken seriously and embedded in the soul of the organisation.
Companies that take strategic action now to focus on their long-term value creation and environmental and social responsibility are more likely to grow, build a stronger culture, witness financial benefits, and make a significant impact on humanity.
How do you build a purpose-driven brand?
The transition towards purpose doesn’t mean you have to abandon growth and profit deliverables. Your journey may, however, require business leaders to readjust and improve certain aspects of how the company and supply chains currently operate including reviewing the impact of how products and services are designed, sourced, made, transported, sold and used.
The key to building a purpose-driven brand is to start by finding your ‘why’. This is your opportunity to take a stand and make a positive difference to society.
Once you understand what your business stands for and the impact you want to make in the world, the next most important element is to navigate your purpose within your organisation. While purpose defines a brand, it’s the action that makes an impact. Your brand cannot do social good while treating employees poorly or make a positive impact on the planet while ignoring the use of plastic packaging.
Activating your brand purpose externally will require a purpose-driven marketing strategy that carefully directs your core message and all marketing communications. Your marketing messages should resonate with consumers, build trust and help people make informed choices.
One way to establish purpose-focused foundations is to look for a brand purpose agency partner such as ,Outsourced imagination.
What does a brand purpose agency do?
A brand purpose agency plays an active role in helping companies become successful purpose-driven brands. They support business leaders on a path to purpose, ensure expectations are understood, identify gaps in value chains, develop effective purpose-driven marketing strategies and marketing communications that connect with consumers on a deeper more meaningful level.
Outsourced imagination is an example of a brand purpose agency that goes beyond traditional marketing. The agency has recently launched a Brand Purpose DNA Workshop that makes brand purpose easy to navigate.
Pioneered by purpose-driven PR & marketing specialists Dora Nikols and Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh, the workshop follows a unique ,Brand Purpose DNA Framework™ that’s designed to help any organisation seamlessly transition into a purpose-driven company.
In addition to the ,Brand Purpose DNA Workshop, ,Outsourced imagination is the type of brand purpose agency that supports companies with purpose-led marketing strategies, digital solutions and creative marketing campaigns.
Whatever agency you choose to work with and no matter how far you go on your purpose-journey, your commitment now can reboot your entire business, impact the world and be personally and professionally rewarding.
Are you ready to activate your brand purpose?
To find out more about the ,Brand Purpose DNA Workshop and other purpose-driven marketing services, arrange a Zoom meeting with the founder of, Outsourced imagination, Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about the purpose space and offer guidance on your journey to becoming a powerful purpose-driven brand.
Thanks for dropping by our purpose-driven marketing blog.
Founder & CMO at Outsourced imagination
Brand purpose agency