A brands purpose is simple; it’s why a brand exists, it’s ambitions and most importantly its moral goal. Well, it should be that simple… With the right company culture, marketing strategy and branding, a company’s purpose should scream volumes like the fruit salesman at your local market. However, like your local hero of the UK high street, it’s easier said than done. If your brand’s purpose doesn’t scream “2 punnets for a pound” with the passion and somewhat honesty of a preacher, then your company’s brand presence will look as flat as the grass beneath sed punnets.
So why is company purpose so important?
Purpose has been moving up the agenda for many marketing departments over the years as companies look to drive corporate social responsibility, and generate a company culture that resonates with customers on a personal level. As consumers, businesses and yes even the fruit salesman have ever-increasing access to your company’s internal functions, with 24/7 access to communicate with your brand and personnel; transparency, whether you like it or not, is here to stay and you must optimise it.Looking ‘to do well by doing good‘ is not enough and has received massive backlash this year. Not around the actions of doing good, but the line between doing good because it’s a part of your company culture or because it makes your brand look good. This presence of a false ‘purpose’ within a company is what consumers are becoming savvier about. They understand a brands want to help, but if it…s not the core of all your personnel and the philosophical heartbeat of your company then to them, it’s superficial.
Body Shop – Driving Purpose in Cosmetics
The Body Shop (as always when writing an ethical case study) has many ongoing initiatives that amplify its purpose, such as their ‘Forever Against Animal Testing’ petition to get animal testing in cosmetics banned worldwide. The petition aims to reach 8 million signatures to present the UN this year – a tremendous achievement and something seen as seeking a better world.
Jessie Macneil-Brown, head of global campaigns at The Body Shop, involves her staff on all successes regarding the campaign, reporting back to her more extensive team every week on the number of signatures gained as well as sharing information on the campaign’s social media engagement and the number of meetings secured with politicians in a bid to drive policy change. Each week Jessie also updates the international team on the progress of the campaign, best practice and shares details on how other countries are performing. Although some of the staff may not be fully involved in pushing the purpose, they are consistently present in the company’s activities, integrating a passion among the individuals and pursuing the unique goal of the brand.
A critical approach The Body Shop uses, and shouldn’t be ignored, is following the social results and impact the charitable action has among its customers and supporters, by regularly adapting marketing strategies to cater to their desire and cares. Unifying customer purpose with company purpose.
To Summarise, “Purpose” is quickly becoming a leading factor for consumers when choosing a brand in 2018. This is mostly influenced by the digital renaissance of the 21st century, the ethical drive of consumers and the 24-hour access to business information. While this is a positive thing from a moral standpoint; for brands who act upon charitable actions as a source of marketing, without it being truly ingrained within the company, can have negative consequences, losing customer interest, loyalty and fundamentally their custom.
Six key points to take away and improve your “purpose” are:
- Don’t underestimate your customer’s scope.
- Ensure your charitable actions and campaigns reflect your company and employees core principles and beliefs.
- Merely donating to a charity isn’t “purpose”. Neither is setting up charity events if the individuals within your company don’t hold a passion for it.
- Choose something to support that truly reflects everyone.
- Always measure the success of each campaign. Particularly among your customer base. Do they see it as a valid purpose or a Marketing Stunt?
- Develop your campaign in alignment with your customer’s response to maximise the presence of your company’s purpose and to stay on trend.