What Happens To Brands Without A ‘Purpose’?
Let’s start with a simple question – Why does branding matter? The answer to this question has seen a dramatic shift from brands being ‘famous and high end’ to what the brand ‘values and supports’. A 2019 Deloitte survey revealed that more than 80 percent of consumers would be willing to pay more if a brand raised its prices to become more environmentally and socially responsible or pay higher wages to its employees. Furthermore, 15 percent said that they would be willing to pay over 25 percent more for a brand’s items!
Gen Z for instance now looks for meaning and value in the brands they use. They are more likely to openly discuss societal issues and take a firm stand on policies.
Why? Because when people believe that they are engaging with a brand that exists to solve a problem, meet a need in society, or make the world a better place through their CSR efforts, then they too become contributors to the cause.
Take the issue of climate change for example. Companies are often seen talking about their minimal carbon footprints, or about undertaking/sponsoring water conservation drives etc. And the proof is in the pudding! A Unilever poll revealed that a third of consumers believe that companies should be driven by a higher purpose, while an Accenture poll found that 63% of consumers prefer to purchase from purpose-driven brands.
Shifting from one-off cause marketing to building a brand with a cause
Each touch point, right from business operations, social media communication, mobile marketing, and websites to storefronts and customer service bots, is responsible for shaping a brand’s reputation. This is a chance to give people a peek at who the company is and what it is they stands for. Check out a few ways to drive purpose across all levels within an organization.
Stay true to the cause
When committing to a cause, brands need to rethink their marketing and other business strategies in order to align with their purpose. For example, any CSR initiatives must reflect not only the values of the brand but also show real results.
Don’t forget to include your own
Involving employees in advocacy programs and keeping them looped in about the direction a brand is taking will ensure transparency and help them feel involved in the process. The way your employees communicate and interact with customers will also reflect on the overall brand.
But does having ‘purpose’ mean taking a hit to the bottom line?
Brands need to remember not get too carried away because ultimately, they are here to do business but in a ‘sustainable’ way so that it benefits both the company and society. Covid-19 has seen unanimous shift in the way that brands have stepped in to help the government, healthcare professionals, the public and their employees. For example, Lifebuoy’s Help a Child Reach Five initiative emphasises the need to adopt hand washing hygiene. 609,000 children in India die each year from diarrhoea and pneumonia before their 5th birthday. Lifebuoy’s initiative talks about the importance of washing hands with soap at five key occasions. Consumers tend to stick with brands that they trust and share values with.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither can a brand’s purpose be created overnight. Providing the answer to ‘Why’ a brand exists can be a highly differentiating factor and will help them exist in a digital world where authenticity and purpose reign supreme.
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