Summary: Having a clearly defined purpose could be the difference between a moderately successful brand and one that is supported by an army of proud and loyal customers.
One of the biggest challenges for many businesses today is standing out from the competition, something that can be particularly difficult in crowded, fast-moving industries.
If your organisation wants to build a distinctive brand that engenders customer loyalty, one of the most effective ways of doing so is through purpose-driven marketing. This can help you demonstrate what you stand for as a business and taps into the growing consumer interest in brands that are focused on goals beyond revenue and profits.
The value of purpose-driven marketing
Purpose-driven marketing is the medium through which you can show your commitment to the issues that are most important to your business and your customers. It can help you build a powerful brand to which people feel loyal, not only because of your product or service quality, but because they want to support your wider mission.
Research has underlined how important and valuable it has become for companies to build a purpose-driven brand. Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of consumers around the world prefer to buy from companies with a shared purpose that reflects their own values and beliefs, and are abandoning those that fall short of their expectations.
Accenture Strategy’s report ‘From Me to We: The Rise of the Purpose-led Brand’ found that companies are more likely to attract customers and influence purchasing decisions if they “stand for something bigger than what they sell”. This could be anything from environmental protection to supporting communities in the world’s most disadvantaged or impoverished areas.
Of the nearly 30,000 international consumers surveyed, 62 per cent said a company’s ethical values and authenticity influenced their purchasing decisions. Even more (74 per cent) said they wanted greater transparency in how companies source products, ensure safe working conditions and take a stance on issues such as animal testing.
Kevin Quiring, managing director of Accenture Strategy, said companies today are operating at a time of “radical transparency”, with consumers “voicing their opinions, values and beliefs, scrutinising the actions of organisations and their leadership, and holding them accountable”.
“They can see through inauthenticity and won’t tolerate it,” he added. “Consumers’ voices can change the financial trajectory of companies. They are more than buyers – they are active stakeholders who are investing their time and attention and want to feel a sense of shared purpose. The winners in this era will not be passive bystanders.”
How to find and show your purpose
In order to succeed in purpose-driven marketing, first you need to have a clear idea of what your purpose is. One of the most effective ways to answer this question is to adopt a philosophy espoused by the author, motivational speaker and consultant Simon Sinek: ‘Start with why.’
Many businesses are driven by what they are doing and how they are doing it, but fail to give enough time and thought to why. By focusing on why your company exists and why you do what you do, you can build up a clearer picture of your purpose.
When thinking about ‘why’, go beyond basic drivers such as revenue and profit, and consider the wider goals that are relevant to your business and important to your customers.
Bill Theofilou, managing director of Accenture’s Customer Insight and Growth Strategy practice, told Forbes that purpose can be defined as “the underlying essence that makes a brand relevant and necessary to its customers”.
He also noted that, to really make their purpose a key part of how they do business, modern companies should get customers involved and encourage them to become active stakeholders.
“[Smart brands] leverage their customers’ energy and involve them in everything from co-creating new products and services, to using their insights to rapidly test and iterate new features and capabilities,” said Mr Theofilou. “Capturing customers’ words, actions and insights enables companies to hone their competitive agility.”
As your business grows and evolves, it’s possible your brand identity, messaging and purpose could change. You might find that you are able to take on new commitments and expand your focus to other areas as the organisation expands, for example.
However, one thing that won’t change is the importance of listening to your customers, recognising what is important to them and committing to a cause that is bigger than your company.
A strong sense of purpose and isn’t just important for engaging your customers. Find out how much a company’s ethical values contribute to employee morale according to our latest survey.
From me to we:The rise of the purpose-led brand. Accenture.
How great leaders inspire action. Ted Talk.