Yet despite typical notions of these brands being rooted in industries like care, charity and the voluntary sector, businesses of all shapes and sizes can — and in fact should — be tapping into their social conscience, and balancing purpose with profit to build a better world, as well as a stronger, more informed brand.
And in 2021, the spotlight is on. Brands are being challenged from every angle. With the speed of technology, the awareness of consumers and the rise of social media; everything brands get right and everything they get wrong is now instantly broadcastable. This level of forensic behavioural analysis, previously reserved only for those investing in an organisation, is now coming from consumers and clients too. Hashtag movements are shifting brand behaviours just as much as high level boardroom decisions. Consumers want brands that align with their own beliefs and brands that fail to deliver are paying the price.
“Nearly half of Unilever’s top 40 brands focus on sustainability. These Sustainable Living brands, including Knorr, Dove and Lipton, are good for society. But they are even better for Unilever—growing 50 percent faster than the company’s other brands and delivering more than 60 percent of the company’s growth,” says Accenture Strategy in their ‘To Affinity & Beyond’ report. They go on to say:
“While purpose must be carefully honed and aligned to the values of the customers a company hopes to engage, intangible components of a brand’s essence such as culture, transparency and ethical values are particularly important.”
On the back of our recent post about the commercial impact a well-built and well-maintained brand can have, we’re looking at the crucial role ‘purpose’ plays in setting you apart, and building a brand that’s both authentic, meaningful and impactful. Sit back; this is a lengthy but important read.
It all starts with WHY
Inevitably the social focus will be tuned up and down depending on your sector, and for some it will be more of an undercurrent rather than a core mission statement. But the underlying message remains: brands with purpose have power. And the brands that have the most scope to empower communities, inspire change and have genuine, long-lasting impact are already one step ahead. That’s all because of their WHY.
In many cases, these brands will already have a defined mission that resonates with audiences. Armed with a clear and committed cause, they’re well placed to withstand and even flourish during uncertain times. Equally, they’re more likely to be authentically living by their values; even if they don’t know it yet.