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Why purpose driven marketing matters
What this year has taught us is to get comfortable with change. As businesses continue to navigate through these difficult times, brands that will be successful in reaching and converting customers beyond 2020 are the ones that take a human-centric approach and communicate a clear purpose.

People are passionate about their causes and they love the idea that brands have one, too. And with 96% of purchase decisions – or any decisions – relying primarily on emotion, purpose driven marketing could therefore be the difference between a moderately successful brand and one that is championed by a loyal fan base.

These days, everyone wants to feel as though they are a part of something much bigger. Companies struggle for competitive advantage in the context of this reality as people are no longer making decisions based on the 4 Ps of marketing. They are basing their decisions on what a brand says. What it does. What it stands for.

And with a worldwide pandemic, socio-economic unrest, climate change as well global elections, consistent messaging is more important and more sensitive than ever right now when marketing to your customers.

Although communicating a brand’s purpose ie. ‘its’ reason for being beyond making money’, needs to be given careful consideration to ensure that your efforts aren’t seen to be a marketing ploy.

Authenticity and tone are key to a sure footing and where great marketing – consumer or B2B – is at its core, great storytelling.

Guinness communicated a message of resilience and assurance in its St Patrick’s Day campaign this year. Health and fitness brands such as Nike and Peloton offered free memberships to access content online not only to help people keep fit for 90 days when the gyms were closed, but to create a sense of community for those that felt isolated.

Meaningful brands appeal to the emotions. Each of these companies has chosen a purpose that has meaning to their brand, but also has a specific meaning to their customers.

Swedish giant Ikea – already a leader in environmental sustainability – is committed to employing 200,000 disadvantaged people from across the world as part of its long term goal.

John Lewis moved away from using the terms ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ in their children’s clothing labels to express its stance against gender stereotyping.

When it comes to B2B, marketers could re-examine the benefits that their company’s products and services bring to the world and spend more time focused on the people they can help. For example, if you are a B2B insurance provider you could align your company to reduce accidents in the workplace by promoting risk management advice. This would translate into a purpose driven goal to keeping people safe and well.

What’s the purpose? In a Consumer Confidence Index, on a scale of 1-10 most consumers ranked themselves 7 or 8 in terms of their social consciousness when shopping. Further evidence suggests that these ‘Conscious Consumers’ (73% of global consumers) would change their consumption habits to reduce environmental impact, while 62% want companies to take a stand on issues close to their hearts.

In light of these trends, some of the biggest brands in the world have now made significant changes to products and services they offer in the long term. Many retailers have launched a sustainable range of clothing to combat accusations of ‘fast-fashion’ or introduced recycling policies or up-cycling schemes.

Companies looking to build their competitive agility need to find new ways to stand apart as loyal customers act as advocates to the brand and a foil to those that don’t stand apart from competitors. Purpose led brands have the potential to create stronger and more resilient customer relationships for the long term.

Choosing a cause to stand behind is one of the best ways to reach customers and make a difference at the same time.

Be Human. Be clear and authentic. Be purpose-driven.

Further Reading
Conscious Consumerism,
To Affinity And Beyond. From Me To We: The Rise Of The Purpose-Led Brand (PDF),
Brands, take a stand,
Nike makes its premium workout streaming service free for those in lockdown,
A St. Patrick’s Day Message From Guinness,