Brand purpose has long been a pillar for many brands to reflect their identity and direct its activities. In a connected world and a time when consumers are seeking more meaningful connections with brands, brands that are capitalizing on their purpose to drive deeper connections are thriving, according to research by Deloitte. The 2019 Consumer Pulsing Survey carried out in the United States, United Kingdom, China, and Brazil also echo the voices of consumers as more and more buying decisions are being influenced by how a company treats its own people, the environment, and the communities in which it operates.
Unfortunately, for many brands out there, it can be very easy to lose sight of its core purpose as it competes in an ever-increasing red ocean. In such circumstances, reflecting on the brand’s story and journey and restructuring in order to better align with the purpose can bring in great dividends. Purpose-driven brands find it easier to communicate and connect with its consumers and stakeholders, are able to recruit the right talent, and grow with a proper and sustainable sense of direction.
BRANDS AND CONSUMER PERCEPTION
According to a study by global integrated communications agency, Zeno, Purpose was recognized as powerful and significant by consumers across generations and geographies, and they suggested that they would keep brands accountable. Younger generations, however, are leading the charge, which is unsurprising. Consumers around the world have high standards for companies that lead with purpose, but there are regional differences. In comparison to countries in the West, respondents in China (54 %), India (60 %), and Malaysia (46 %) expressed more optimism about the state of businesses and are nearly twice as likely to assume that brands today have a strong Purpose.
Consumers in Generations Y and Z are eager to engage in co-creation activities. They also reward businesses that seek out their input. When a company asks for recommendations for a product or service, 51% are more likely to respond. 65% of people are more likely to purchase something from a company that solicits their feedback. While Gens Y and Z have less overall wealth than previous generations, it’s important to remember that what they lack in wealth, they make up for in influence. According to one study, 87 percent of Generation Z parents say their children have an impact on their buying decisions. Then there’s the $68 trillion that Generation Y is expected to inherit from their Baby Boomer parents by 2030 based on the findings by real estate firm Coldwell Banker and WealthEngine. These generations’ values and authority should not be underestimated.
PURPOSE DRIVEN BRANDS DURING THE PANDEMIC
By establishing a clear understanding of what they value and believe in, these brands are thriving. By attracting customers not only with their brands’ strengths, but also with the strength and consistency of their actions. And by bringing a purpose-driven approach to all aspects of their businesses in order to achieve long-term competitiveness.
In Bangladesh, purpose driven brands are stepping forward to lend a hand in any way they can. Mane organizations have taken an initiative to help people survive the pandemic and Shwapno is no different. They have introduced a special pack, called ‘Sheba Pack” that regular citizens can purchase for the needy. Sold at a discounted price, these Sheba Packs contain all the necessary supplies needed. Brac had also stepped in to help the families in need. To begin with, the majority of the funds were raised from Brac’s own fundraising efforts. Furthermore, the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Brac Bank collaborated with the organization for the second time, following the NGO’s rapid identification study of 2,675 low-wage workers.
PURPOSE INTEGRATED IN EVERY ACTIVITY
Businesses that have a good sense of purpose are better able to transform and innovate. “Greater ability to drive successful innovation and transformational change,” according to executives from companies that treat purpose as a core driver of strategy and decision-making.
Executives at firms with a strong sense of purpose report that their organization is succeeding with innovation and transformation efforts, while less than one-fifth (19%) of executives at companies without a strong sense of purpose report success. Many people regard the pursuit of profit and a sense of greater purpose as a binary choice between the two. However, the leaders are discovering that it is a ‘both profit and purpose’ model, both philosophically and financially. In fact, leaders regard them as inextricably linked:
‘This is not corporate social responsibility, cause marketing, or a philanthropic strategy; it is a business strategy.’ It can lead to your philanthropy, just as it can lead to your R&D and HR. But once you’ve decided on your goal, everything else should fall into place.’ (Procter & Gamble’s former CMO, Jim Stengel)
‘It is not an aspirational vision, but rather a practical way to address the kinds of problems that gripped the world and continue to grip our attention – from jobs and energy to the environment and global financial systemic problems’ (Sam Palmisano, CEO of IBM).
EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION AND IMPACT
What does it mean to have purpose-driven employees? Employees are intrinsically motivated because they think their job matters and their work will make a difference. They are not only committed to their company’s goals by giving their best every day, but they are also intrinsically motivated because they believe their job matters and their work will make a difference. They are always looking for ways to improve themselves while building meaningful relationships with clients, colleagues, and customers. It is critical that your organization be purpose-driven in order for your workforce to be and feel the same. By definition, an organizational purpose is an aspirational rationale for being non-profit.
Purpose has a strong pull on people. Customers want to engage with businesses that take a stand on current and related issues like sustainability, transparency, and fair employment practices, according to Accenture’s brand intent research. The cost of not speaking up is high; brands that do not do so face considerable backlash, with 47 percent of consumers saying they would leave a brand out of frustration and 17 percent saying they would never return. Purpose can be a powerful motivator for increasing customer loyalty and brand value; it’s a metric that will guide all of your future communications and marketing efforts. With consumer attitudes changing and a more thoughtful mentality emerging, demonstrating your brand intent will be critical to ensuring your brand’s success and longevity in the future.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Purpose should not remain an abstract sentence in a company’s mission statement but rather profess everything that a company and brand does. A purpose-driven brand that professes a strong identity and focuses on the triple bottom line yields greater value in the long run and are sustainable. Research carried out by Rajendra Sisodia, David Wolfe, and Jagdish Sheth in their acclaimed book ‘Firms of Endearment’, tracked 18 purpose-driven brands over the course of 10 years. Their findings showed that these brands on average greatly outperformed other companies in the S&P 500 index. Another Harvard study also noted similar findings where organizations that valued purpose performed better on the stock market and consistently outperformed Fortune 100 companies. Acting as the north star for brands, the purpose drives a company towards meaningful innovation and employee performance ensuring meaningful returns for years to come.
By Orobi Bakhtiar