The Importance of Purpose-Driven BrandsBy Luca Nan | Mon, 04/18/2022 - 10:00
Back in the 1970s, an average person would be exposed to between 500 and 1,600 advertisements a day, at a time when those ads were found on the street, in magazines, newspapers, on television or radio: the five types of media. By 2021, research from the Yankelovich Group concluded that we are exposed to more than 6,000 daily advertising impacts. All this is a result of the growth of technology and the spaces that advertisers have found to connect with their audiences.
Faced with such a number of impacts, every day it becomes more important for brands to offer a differentiator that puts them on the map, a map that has become diversified and saturated, in which it is no longer just a matter of pointing in the direction of the tangible attributes of a product. We compete with dozens or hundreds of brands that want to always steal our audience’s attention; we are no longer competing with the usual participants in our category. In fact, we no longer compete only in our audience’s leisure time; now our fight has moved to the workspace and the tools they use daily to communicate with their colleagues, such as We Transfer.
This competitive landscape seems harsher every single day but here is where our work becomes an interesting challenge because we should and must raise the level of the brands we work with to take them to more strategic territory, find a different way to tell stories that transcend the tactical and allow us to match the philosophy of the people who are on the other side of the screens and smartphones. It is here where a rather striking term, although it is not new, is becoming increasingly relevant in the world of marketing and advertising: Purpose-Driven Brands, which are brands that are motivated by their core mission. The reason they exist is to solve a problem or find a need in society. That purpose includes the vision, mission, story, visual identity, decision-making and everything around the brand.
This approach represents a significant evolution in the beautiful art of creating a long-term relationship with the consumer but defining a purpose that guides the destiny of a brand is not an easy task. It is not enough only to share the values that are part of a business vision or adopt a different charitable cause every year and make a financial donation or an in-kind program. It has to do with a deep understanding of the most valuable thing that exists for those of us who work in communications: people.
It begins with a clear definition of our strategic target; for example, for whom the benefits currently offered by our brand are most relevant in the market. This helps us to delimit a territory of affinity and focus our communication efforts. Once we have done this work, the most interesting stage of the process begins, the one that mixes psychology, sociology and marketing into a more personal approach, because the work is none other than listening. Yes, listening deeply to our audience to know how they develop in the current context, what are the causes that motivate them, the desires they have as individuals who are part of society and, one of the most important of all, what are the fears and barriers they face in order to fulfill those desires? That is where our raw material is: in an understanding that few brands would do without today.
One of the best-known examples of this evolution, which went through the process, is the case of Dove, a Unilever brand. From this quantitative and qualitative understanding with their people and their brand and after analyzing this information, they achieved an insight that triggered a change in the category, in the industry, in communication and, more importantly, in the lives of many people who were keeping secret something that they could not continue to keep quiet. What did they do? They transformed beauty into a source of security and rather than anxiety for women, thus strengthening their self-esteem.
It marked the evolution of a brand that took over a territory that had been there for a long time but in which no one had taken on the task of bringing it to light under the umbrella of a brand. Over the years, many more wanted to get on board but without replicating the success of those who originally talked about it and adopted it as the guiding principle of their brand.
Small changes that make a big difference and are reflected in almost any point that a brand that has evolved its position touches, since beyond statistics linked to the positive economic effects of these changes, we observe parameters wherein consumers say they have stronger emotional bonds to purpose-driven companies. Or one more piece of data that shows us one of the most important variables in the relevance of a brand: 73 percent of consumers are willing to stand up for a purpose-driven brand when someone speaks badly about it.
Everything a brand does begins and ends with people. Let's seek longer-lasting relationships with them. Let's try to ensure that at least one of those plus-6,000 advertising impacts that they see per day is one that changes their life, their environment and their future, hand in with our brand.