What a year! Between the global pandemic, political and civil unrest, and protests on racial injustice, it was a heavy one. A silver lining to come out of the year that shall not be named was the amazing ways brands showed their true colors outside of what drives revenue—their purpose.
A recent study shows that consumers are 4-6 times more likely to trust, buy, champion and protect brands with a strong purpose. There’s no arguing the business value from having a well understood purpose—attracting the best talent, inspiring richer innovation, increased customer loyalty—but this year it just feels different. Brands have taken a stance on issues that impact the greater community—for the good of the greater community. And, the consumer is paying attention. Today’s consumer is more conscientious and enlightened, and having a major impact on how we generally conduct business.
So, how will purpose affect business in the coming year? Brands will need to evolve to a more purpose-driven mentality to stay competitive. Here are some tips to evolving smartly as we march forward into the new year with more meaning.
A look within.
Customers are looking for brands with purpose and want to build a connection with those brands that represent similar values to their own. In fact, they are willing to pay a premium for it. On average, 70% of shoppers pay an added premium of 35% or more on products by companies that are purpose-driven.
Evaluate your brand to see if you’re being inclusive, honest and transparent. A brand’s values should be at the core of the brand and lived out in every aspect of the business. Do this and your customers and employees will stand behind you with loyalty and purchases.
To be authentic, be patient.
Consumers have high expectations. To be successful, be authentic. Start by identifying your brand purpose—what value your brand adds and why your brand exists. Then take thoughtful action on a sustainable effort that dives a meaningful difference in the lives of the consumer.
Take the apparel brand, Bombas, for example. The driving force behind Bombas isn’t making amazingly comfortable socks and t-shirts. It’s about supporting the homeless community and bringing awareness to an underpublicized problem in the United States. For every pair of socks purchased, Bombas donates a pair to shelters, nonprofits and organizations dedicated to helping homeless, in-need and at-risk communities nationwide.
Finding your purpose may not come overnight and that’s ok. Rushing the process can lead to distrust by your customers. Remember, this is a long-term commitment. Strategically find an authentic purpose, but don’t rush to find the solution.
Involve your team.
To sustain a brand’s purpose for the long run, it will take cooperation across the entire organization. Employees will need to stand behind the cause. Brand purpose isn’t about economics, it’s about something more aspirational.
Large accounting firm, KPMG, encouraged employees to share examples of how they were making a difference in the lives of their clients in an internal program called the 10,000 Stories Challenge. The challenge was to collect 10,000 stories by Thanksgiving. When it was all said and done, 27,000 people submitted 42,000 stories. It gave employees a way to capture their passion and make a personal connection to the organization’s purpose of helping their clients “inspire confidence and empower change.”
Creating a purpose-driven organization links your purpose to your team and provides a sense of meaning. The end result is a brand that delivers on the brand purpose to its consumer and attracts and retains strong talent.
Today, anything goes. Take a chance on a new idea and experiment with your marketing. Try something you’ve always wanted to try. Give back to the community.
When the pandemic hit, Tropical Smoothie Cafe donated more than $1.4 million in smoothies to frontline healthcare workers. The feedback from the community, the recipients of the smoothies and their franchise family was so overwhelming the brand set up another donation of free smoothies to first responders and medical professionals again this December. Thanking them for selflessly caring for their communities during the pandemic, by way of free smoothies, stands by their core value focusing on building relationships.
Let your voice be heard.
As more and more brands evolve into a more purpose-driven mentality, it can be challenging for brands to stand out and stay ahead of the competition. Inviting the consumer into your new purpose-driven brand story can spark a movement greater than your brand. Isn’t that the purpose?
Need help shaping and telling your purpose-driven story? Let’s talk.