Brand Purpose Evolution From Single Event, To 360° Change Agent | #employeefraud | #recruitment | #corporatesecurity


Over the past 50 years, brand purpose marketing has evolved from: – Zero brand purpose (100% product cell), to… – Once a year, promoted & advertised events (Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Walkathons), to… – Year-round, with 360° marketing (Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, stated: “brands that don’t stand for something will be disposed of”), to… – Social impact change agent, galvanizing consumers and instructing them to take action to affect change across more than one social issue (Ben & Jerry’s, Toms, Nike, &Pizza)

Brands can no longer be silent.  They’re expected to weigh in on important issues as they arise, in addition to the core brand purpose cause (Secret Deodorant & equal pay for women, Dove & women’s self-esteem, Patagonia & the environment).  Brands now speak out on pressing issues like Coronavirus, Black Lives Matter & Gun Control, taking positions that could risk alienating potential constituents (Nike’s support of Colin Kaepernick, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey’s moves to flag Trump’s Tweet violating rules about glorifying violence and providing a link to “get the facts about mail-in ballots” to fact-check Trump’s voter fraud Tweet. In the end, doing what’s right earns these brands respect, recognition, positive attention and stronger user loyalty.

The Extent of Brand Purpose Efforts Varies Widely

Brand support for social impact issues ranges from:

–       Simply expressing support verbally in social media posts, TV ads & billboards

–       Committing money & making donations

–       Engaging employees in role modeling change

–       Fighting for legislative change

–       Encouraging customers to take action, making it quick & easy for them to sign petitions, contact congressional representatives, boycott products & services, make donations, volunteer

–       Company leaders role modeling behaviors, speaking out, and making difficult decisions that can negatively affect profits (REI closing on Black Friday)

What Follows Are Specific Actions Being Taken By The Best Brand Purpose Practioners

Ben & Jerry’s, The Gold Standard

Many brands use watered down language, vague initiatives, and the same tactics & messaging (black Instagram tiles to express support for Black Lives Matter), to express support for causes. Ben & Jerry’s in contrast, doesn’t mince words and does all it can to change what they deem needs changing.  It boldly, unequivocally states where it stands, and helps consumers take very specific actions regarding what it thinks they need to do.  Ben & Jerry’s makes it as easy for consumers to link directly to petitions and donation sites, and they use strong calls to action to urge them on.

Brand purpose is so important, the company has a Global Head of Activism, led by Christopher Miller, a smart, knowledgeable veteran, experienced in social causes and activism.  While a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s has its own independent board.  The company’s structure, brands values, and priorities enable it to act quickly and forcefully.

The website “Values” section includes “How We Do Business”, “Issues We Care About” and the work of the “Foundation”.  “Issues We Care About” includes: – Extensive information to educate consumers on the specific issues – How its employees are engaging in philanthropy and social work – How consumers can affect change, encouraging the government to enact new legislation regarding: Black Lives Matter, Ending Racial Violence, Making Police Accountable, Defunding the Police and Reallocating Budgets, Ending Mass Incarceration, Dismantling White Supremacy, Reinvigorating the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Prevention of Voter Registration Suppression, and Pausing Paid Advertising on Instagram and Facebook as part of the #StopHateForProfit Movement.

CEO, Matthew McCarthy, walks the talk and is a great role model who publicly expresses the company’s belief that businesses must be held accountable in fighting racism.

Employee engagement is part of the corporate culture.  Employees work on large-scale community service projects Ben & Jerry’s deems important.

Toms, Is Another Gold Standard Brand As Social Impact Change Agent

Tom’s previous campaign to End Gun Violence, made the brand a change agent, actively encouraging consumers to take action by signing petitions in-store to end gun violence, and share messages in-store, through social media, and on their site using the hashtag #endgunviolencetogether.  

On the Tonight Show with Jimmy Kimmel, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie, announced in an emotional, authentic way, Toms $5 million donation to organizations that fight for gun control. It was the largest corporate donation to the cause in U.S. history. Toms website enabled consumers in 30 seconds, to send postcards to their U.S. Congress representative expressing support for universal background checks.  Jimmy Kimmel demo’s how quick and easy it was to do on Toms’ site.  Once someone registers, they receive a thank you and are urged to encourage 4 additional people to mail in postcards, including a suggested Facebook post. 

On the wetransfer.com homepage, a button sent visitors to fill out a postcard to the government supporting universal background checks.

Storefront windows in Williamsburg, Brooklyn boldly communicated “Take Action Inside” to support universal background checks.

Messaging inside the store implored customers to take action and told them how.

In-store, customers were encouraged to sign the petition, send postcards in support to local congressional representatives, post to the hashtag #endgunviolencetogether, share their feelings and art about gun control on the community wall, and leave wearing buttons to make others aware.

The fast-casual chain &Pizza, that wants to become the most progressive fast-food employer in the U.S., is committed to pay fair wages: $14 per hour (considerably above the industry average of $9.84). &Pizza encourages its workers to take paid time off for activism. The CEO, Michael Lastoria, visibly works to change government laws to help workers in different ways. He’s a role model who embodies his company’s values and inspires others.

Nike Is Another Clear Gold Standard Brand.  It’s recent Don’t Do It campaign instills a moral conscience regarding ending racial bias.  Nike’s support for Colin Kapernick doing what he felt was essential to follow his conscience and set an example for others, is legendary.  They engage in countless social impact best practices.

Key Take-Aways For CMO’s

360° Authenticity, Consistency and Communication

In my article Brand Purpose Done Right Is More Than 360°, I talk about the importance of authenticity, consistency and actions year-round, and in everything the brand does.  Increasingly brands feel they must weigh in on pressing issues as they arise, above and beyond its year-round core brand purpose. Brands who do it in a token, insincere manner or demonstrate questionable commitment in other areas of the firm, are called out immediately on social media. Brands must be thoughtful in how they address sensitive issues and how they behave across everything they do, including the ethnic and gender composition of the board of directors and employees in senior management positions, how workers are treated, pay practices, etc.  Founders/leaders’s actions are also subject to scrutiny.  If brands truly want to impact change, it’s not enough to simply express support to look good.  Brands must help educate consumers on the issues and make it easy for them to take actions to bring about change.

New and Broader Success Metrics

New success metrics must be added. Brands truly interested in affecting change, should measure not only the impact on sales, but also how many people come to sections of their sites to learn about the issues, sign petitions for legislation through the site or in-store, send postcards to congressional representatives, or post on their Facebook page to engage others, following guidance from the brand.



Click here for the original source and author.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

29 − = 22