One of the best ways a brand can get consumers’ attention is by tugging at their heartstrings. By creating emotional connections, brands have been able to bond with consumers and win their loyalty in the process. However, many brands are now looking to further deepen those emotional connections for more benefits. This is where the concept of purpose-driven branding comes into play.
Inherently, purpose appeals to human emotion. It is the reason for being, contributing, and moving forward. It is inspiring and hopeful. And if you are a brand, it is the perfect channel for appealing to consumers. With this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more brands are becoming involved in the conversation around social justice issues in order to give their business a larger role in society.
This change comes with good reason because it is exactly what today’s consumers want to see from companies. A research study conducted by Cone PR and marketing agency uncovered a treasure trove of information about how American consumers view and approach purpose-driven brands in the market. Mostly positive, here are some of the findings:
- Nearly eight-in-10 Americans say they are more loyal to Purpose-driven brands than traditional brands
- Nearly three-quarters are more willing to defend them
- 78% of consumers believe it is no longer acceptable for companies to just make money, they expect companies to positively impact society as well
- 88% would buy a product from that company
- Two thirds said they would take to social media to promote the brand’s purpose and message, as well as company information
While these statistics sound like a brand’s dream come true, they also raise the standard that brands must meet. The study revealed that people do feel that purpose-driven brands care more about them as individuals, more so than traditional companies focused on transactions. But people also felt that purpose-driven brands have a greater expectation to elevate beyond profit by making a meaningful, lasting contribution to society to keep up with the changing times and attitudes.
The Bright Side
And while consumer expectations are on the rise, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing for brands. By working harder to meet new expectations in addition to championing real world issues, there is true potential for companies to connect and resonate with consumers.
The Power of Loyalty
In turn, connecting with consumers through passionate activism can build a deeper relationship, strengthening the foundation for a loyal customer base. This is especially important in such a competitive market because these consumers are more willing to try wider ranges of products, purchase at higher price points, and promote positive company information – all for the name of brand loyalty.
Today, it is much more powerful for a brand to be endorsed as an enactor of positive change rather than just a financially successful brand. The companies that can rise to new challenges and adapt to remain in favor will undoubtedly end up on top.
Not a Quick Fix
However, it is necessary to note that taking on a positive purpose won’t make up for lacking quality. In the study, consumers still placed quality above purpose and cost-effectiveness when ranking their purchasing priorities. So, if brands want to make the biggest possible impact on consumers, they must excel in both purpose and product quality. Don’t expect purpose to fix or divert attention from any existing issues.
It Goes Beyond
Zooming out to take a look at the larger picture, it is possible to see that the impact of purpose reaches beyond purchase and brand endorsement. Having a purpose also gives brands an edge when it comes to consumer investments and employment. Consumers are more likely to invest in and work for brands that are driven by purpose, making a company stronger from the inside out.
More than Talk
As their expectations rise, American consumers fully expect purpose-driven companies to walk the walk. They want brands to show full commitment to causes if they are going to identify themselves in such a favorable light. There is an increasingly strong desire to see these companies actively and consistently advocating for hot-button social justice issues such as environmental protection, gun control, cost of higher education, access to healthcare, and women’s rights.
No ‘One Size Fits All’
While there are many great causes to get involved in, companies should not attempt to advocate for all the issues. Instead, it is more effective to focus all effort on one issue that can be whole-heartedly supported. Choosing one issue shows that a company is united in the effort and is serious about enacting change. According to consumers, companies should be clear about their purpose and publicize a consistent message on their website and product packaging.
From the Heart
Purpose-driven branding is not meant to be a mere marketing scheme and should not be approached as such. It needs to come from the heart of the company. The desire to impact positive change must become a central part of the business identity and must guide all brand activities. If a company leads with an authentic sense of purpose and goodwill, consumers will follow.