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No Purpose - No Point

Melissa Fretwell, founder of marketing agency White Camino got together with Leanne Leveaux, founder of social media agency Social Voltage over a virtual pint for a lively chat about all things brand purpose. The transcript of that zoom call starts off well, but to be honest gets a bit sweary, especially around brands who greenwash so here’s the polished version.🤩

How a brand impacts society and the planet is no longer the job of the challenger brand, the feisty upstart with big ideas and not much cash. Purpose is finally high on everyone’s agenda, from The Good Business Festival’s inaugural event last month to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity who have award categories to honour this new[ish] breed of work.

Truth from the youth

Whoever your target audience may be, always look to the next generation as a barometer. Research by Kantar shows that 72% of Generation Z in the USA think that brands should be responsible for making society better. 75% of Gen Z will stop buying brands and spread the word about companies whose campaigns they regard as “racist”, “macho”or “homophobic”. Finally!

Source: McKinsey&Company, “True Gen’: Generation Z and its implications for companies”, 2018

Kantar’s BrandZ research shows a correlation between brand power and purpose. This is important because their research claims that high brand power results in greater market share. Their Purpose 2020 study also shows that brands recognised for high commitment to purpose have grown at more than twice the rate of others. Source: Kantar, “Purpose 2020: Igniting Purpose-led Growth”, 2017, consulting.

Pretty compelling insights. So Gen Z are actively choosing brands that are in the business of making money and being sustainable, people centric and supporting wider social causes. Which is obviously brilliant news and something both Leanne and Melissa have seen first hand through our work with 16-34 year old audiences in the entertainment world. Invest in researching your consumer so you can apply these potentially game changing insights to your brand and marketing plans.

It’s getting hot in here...

The UK met office has data from the last 150 years to show that climate change is really happening. All the top 10 warmest records have happened since 2002. Bringing this back to the screen industries, ALBERT, the UK authority on environmental sustainability for film and TV believe that the creative industries offer the greatest opportunity to mobilise positive action for the planet. According to their annual report, a record number of productions have been using the Albert calculator and gaining Albert certification for their sustainable actions. Putting it another way that’s a 10% reduction in the average carbon footprint of productions in the last two years. More of that please.

While it’s clearly a more memorable iteration of greenwashing or peacocking, here’s how to avoid it:

  1. Circular economy principles should cascade through all your thinking and doing - ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’.

  2. Choose your language carefully so you don’t mislead- recyclable, compostable sounds great but does that actually match up with the realities your consumers face in terms of what they can recycle and compost locally.

  3. Speak to your customers and find out what they value - be honest about what you can and can’t do to deliver. Taking them on the journey to sustainability is so much better than pretending you’re already there.

  4. Metrics matter - find smart ways to track your performance as a business using metrics that are meaningful and demonstrate the impact in a way that’s easy to explain.

In other words: don’t tell me you’re funny, make me laugh. So what now? Let’s apply this to your brand.

Brand purpose - The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s definition: “A brand’s purpose is the benefit it provides and may be an emotional or intellectual ideal that reflects the culture and motivation of the organisation behind the brand. A brand has the potential to represent an emotional quality that goes beyond the functionality of the product or service.” Let’s make this purpose a force for good, making the world a better place.

The brand proposition is the factor which makes your brand distinctive from its competitors. It’s the special quality that is hardest to emulate and provides a compelling reason to believe in the brand. Think about it as broadly as you can from physical attributes of the product or service to a unique attitude and culture. When you’ve figured all this out, plus your positioning, values, personality and core target audience then get creative. Your distinctive assets from an hilarious insta post to a compelling whitepaper are the glue between your brand and your customer’s memory. We can help you make it stick.

Have we got CV-19 news for you

And here’s the really good news - Covid can be the catalyst for purpose-led business. What if environmental, social and economic measures had the same weight? How motivational would that be? Brands and companies with a social purpose energise employees and it seems there’s no time like the present to “reset” and “pivot”. Let’s not get distracted by those cringey buzzwords and intentionally reappraise your brand purpose. That’s something we can definitely help with. Get in touch here.👌

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