One of the trends gaining traction within marketing circles worldwide is ‘brands with a purpose’. Deborah Usher looks at how this is playing out.
Ideally all brands should be borne from what consumers need, so this isn’t a new concept. For decades Nike has been ‘inspiring the athletes in all of us’, Google has been striving to ‘organise the world’s information’. But a defined ‘purpose’ should be a brand’s ultimate goal brought about through communications but also through the organisation’s internal culture, product development and CSR initiatives.
Consumers want brands to make a difference to their everyday lives. Therefore in today’s connected, convergent world where utility from brands is more possible than ever, ‘purpose’ at its core is a desired behaviour. Never before has the media landscape made it more possible for brands to realise what consumers really want.
As I write this, an overseas friend of mine was communicating with me on a train via the internet and his signal dropped often – if a brand came along and installed WiFi on the train, he would most certainly love them forever!
The challenge for marketers is identifying a purpose that is true to the brand and that can remain true to its purpose. In the eyes of a consumer, the purpose needs to be authentic and needs to come from the top – not just from marketing and advertising but at a boardroom discussion level. There is also a misconception of what purpose is because some marketers define it simply as CSR while consumers say it starts with CRM, the latter being today’s reality.
One platform brings this to life and that is digital, it allows us to connect with content and each other. Facebook saw value in the messaging service WhatsApp when they bought if for US$19 billion, then again, 50 billion messages a day by 400 million global users is pretty compelling! Hellmann’s mayonnaise picked up on this opportunity, knowing that food lovers at home would welcome some coaching when creating in the kitchen.
Hellmann’s (a Unilever brand) went one better than a cookbook or website, they gave consumers the opportunity to interact in real time with a chef through WhatsApp video messaging and of course mayo has to be an ingredient! Chefs Coach Foodies on New Recipes via WhatsApp is an example of bringing to life the idea of being purpose driven. Unilever stated the importance of purpose driven marketing globally this year, coincidence?
Our landscape is connected more than we ever thought possible, in fact nothing is impossible! Define your purpose and reap the long term benefits!
Deborah Usher is media director at The Media Shop
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