By Denise Zimmerman
The buzz around purpose-driven marketing could easily be written off as the latest marketing mumbo jumbo but it’s not. In fact, mission or purpose-driven marketing is arguably essential to succeeding in the current consumer, media and marketing environment. Defining your purpose will surface the benefits and relevance of what you offer beyond products and services. Defining your purpose and acting on it will provide greater brand clarity for more cohesive, relevant and engaging marketing efforts. It may be one of the most critical actions you take in 2019.
What is purpose-driven marketing?
Some use the term interchangeably with cause-related marketing, in parallel to charitable or philanthropic efforts. But engaging with a worthy cause is not the end of purpose-driven marketing. It doesn’t have to be the beginning either as it was with TOMS® shoes.
As TOMS® shares on their website, Founder Blake Mycoskie wanted to help after he witnessed the hardships children had growing up without shoes when traveling in Argentina. The result was, he created TOMS® Shoes, to match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. He founded the company with a purpose.
This past November, Mycoskie announced a $5 Million donation to end gun violence on the Tonight Show and broke down sobbing while doing so elevating the initial founding purpose beyond shoes. TOMS®’ mission or purpose is to help improve lives through business. It is a core value and is embedded in everything they do. Their marketing, therefore, is inherently purpose driven. While this may work for some brands, others may risk seeming ingenious unless the effort, cause or sentiment is truly core to the business.
You don’t have to be a company founded on a purpose to define, nurture and evolve a purpose to action. It’s helpful then, to approach purpose-driven marketing as a more encompassing term that centers around a company’s greater purpose beyond selling something. Your purpose should be consumer-centric or, more aptly, human-centric for emotional resonance with consumers and employees. For practical as well as aspirational intent defining your purpose for your clients becomes core to any brand strategy.
The old school USP is disconnected and outdated in the marketplace. Mission statements fall flat if even remembered. Purpose, however, is a richer, more connective construct for messaging and a company culture that resonates while supporting your core mission. It’s fulfilling to have the freedom and support to care and share our humanity with colleagues as well as customers.
Having a purpose is also good for business. Harvard Business Review released a study in 2015, globally surveying 474 executives of various industries on what has made purpose effective for their companies. Eighty-nine percent reported that a collective purpose motivates employee satisfaction. Eighty-four percent linked purpose with transformation and 80% stated that it boosts customer loyalty
Innovation, growth, and engagement intrinsically connect as a direct outcome of a company’s brand purpose leading to more action. Executives surveyed stated that their corporate purpose includes inspiring innovation and positive change, providing employees with a sense of meaning and fulfillment, creating value for the customer, and making a positive impact on their community.
Finding and implementing brand purpose and purpose-driven marketing can supercharge growth, innovation, and success. Better get started.
Denise Zimmerman is president of Netplus. Netplus.agency