Sir Richard Branson recently said that "brands that will thrive in the coming years – both financially and in terms of their impact on the globe - are the ones that have a purpose beyond profit".
With over 80 million YouTube views and enough award wins to make Tom Hank’s trophy cabinet look bare, Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign has taken the advertising industry and consumers by storm.
By subverting the insult ‘like a girl’ to mean something far more powerful and positive, Always has gained recognition as a brand with a purpose far more philanthropic than sales targets.
Brand purpose is not a marketing phase and should not be shrugged off as yet another buzzword
In the digital age it is crucial that companies are fully transparent, not only in what they sell, but what they stand for. Arguably one of the biggest marketing movements for 2014/2015 has been brand purpose – companies driving a greater message outside of themselves and their margins.
Brand purpose needs to be real, not simply a marketing ploy and it needs to exist outside the purpose of making money. In Kantar Worldpanel’s Brand Footprint report, which maps growth and popularity of 11,000 FMCG brands across the globe, we found this to be one of the key trends amongst brands that are demonstrating strong global growth, such as Colgate, Dove and Lifebuoy.
Search engines have created an encyclopaedia of knowledge that is at consumer’s fingertips. When they aren’t looking at cat meme’s, your potential customers can research your companies’ entire history, mishaps and press coverage. There is no more sweeping it under the rug and as such it is vital for a brand to have its core values visible, in order to retain customers and reach out to future ones.
Brand purpose can have a positive impact on sales
Many leading brands are developing a social or community function, linked to their product and the people using it. The number two ranked health and beauty brand, Lifebuoy grew consumer reach points by 7% in the last year.
Unilever speaks of Lifebuoy’s success in terms of the higher purpose of saving children’s lives. The ‘Help kids reach 5’ marketing activity in India and south-east Asia encourages frequent and thorough hand washing.
The soap changes colour, turning green when the germs have been killed which provides a fun and safe way to promote hygiene. It is this ‘higher purpose,’ that positions the brand in the forefront of the customer mind and shopping basket. This isn’t just soap, but positioned as a soap that saves lives.#
Other than making women across the globe feel great about themselves, in the last year Dove has finally broken into the top 10 FMCG brands across the globe
Another brand making a positive impact on the world, as well as its popularity, is Dove. Dove is now in the 10th year of its crusading campaign for real beauty.
Dove’s ‘Beauty patch’ advertisement cleverly reinforced its message of raising women’s self-esteem: it showed women’s growing confidence in how they looked and felt, only to reveal that the ‘pharmaceutical’ had no active ingredients.
The lesson it is conveying? Beauty comes from within. Other than making women across the globe feel great about themselves, in the last year Dove has finally broken into the top 10 FMCG brands across the globe, joining the likes of Coca Cola and Colgate.
Consumers who buy your brand don’t belong to you. Just because they buy your product one week, it won’t stop them from purchasing someone else’s the next. The fickle nature of shoppers means a constant need for buyer recruitment, even for hugely popular brands. It is arguable that if a brand has a ‘purpose’, then it may nudge consumers towards buying their brand over competitors.
The brands discussed here have a high ranking because they tap into a real human need and motivation, and have a strong and clearly defined social purpose.
This creates strong, sustainable brands that consumers love. Brand purpose is not a marketing phase and should not be shrugged off as yet another buzzword. When used properly, brands with a social purpose can not only make a difference to their global popularity, but to the world itself.