According to data from Edelman, sixty-four percent of consumers around the world will choose, switch, avoid or boycott a business based on its stand on societal and political issues. More than ever before companies care about the values and believe in purpose-driven marketing. Companies that follow through on a brand purpose not only add meaning to products and services but also connect with customers at an emotional level.

So the question is where do companies start?

Walk the talk

Being authentic is critical to marketing and when it comes to the brand purpose it becomes even more important. Before the company declares a purpose it should be rooted in all the facets of the organization- from marketing and customer service to communication and policy and everywhere in between.

In short, it is more about the demonstration before communication. Any purpose-driven campaign is long term thing and it can remain in the minds of the customer for a very long time.

Unilever for examples takes the number one spot in the ranking for its corporate goals to make sustainable living commonplace which is why they solve challenges around sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition.

 “One of our core beliefs is that you cannot have a healthy business in an unhealthy society,” believes Unilever chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed. Hence Unilever encompasses sustainability goals along with it business goals.

Have a purpose without taking sides

Customers can buy or boycott brands based on a social or political issue so it is tough for brands to take a side. However, brands don’t need to choose sides on political or social topics. The important thing is to find an issue that strikes a chord with everyone like disaster relief, environmental causes, earthquakes etc.

When hurricane Florence hit the US last year Delta Airlines donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to assist with ongoing relief efforts. Delta’s customers were also asked to make cash donations or donate their travel miles to the American Red Cross to provide free travel to those assisting in relief efforts.

3 steps to finding a purpose that aligns with your brand

The brands should support the purpose that is completely aligned with their ethos and product/ services they offer. Here are three things to consider:

  1. Does your brand have a reason to be there

Choosing a purpose that is not aligned with brand strategy can be a nightmare. The best way to do this is to support purposes that they have long supported or played a part in. If the brand is already walking the walk as a brand then they will know what discussions to be part of.

Warby Parker was started by co-founder when he lost his expensive eyewear and could not replace them as a grad student. Hence to solve the problem Warby Parker partners with nonprofits such as Vision Spring to distribute a pair of glasses to someone in need for each pair sold.

Warby Parker says it has distributed over one million pairs of glasses and has trained over 18,000 men and women to give basic eye exams and bring glasses to their communities with Vision Spring.

    2.  Are you doing or just saying?

Is your brand just saying something or it is backing up with actions? Consistency over time is very important to build an enduring relationship with customers.

If brand just wants to be part of different trends then it is not going to help and might even hurt in long run.


 3.   Will this stand up in five years from now?

This is a great question to start with. When it comes to purpose-driven marketing, brand need to think about how this campaign will be looked back on and how it might shape the business going forward.

Uber says it is evolving the way the world moves. They seamlessly connect riders to the driver through apps and make cities more accessible opening up for more possibilities.

Finally, organizations have recognized that for top brands with purpose it is not about just slogan or logo but "purpose" provides direct benefit to their financial results and other key performance indicators.