Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Companies that use purpose-driven marketing strategies do so in an effort to center all of their communication strategies around a certain social cause which aligns with their own core values. The goal of this type of marketing strategy is for a company to develop a stronger relationship with the target audience by creating genuine connections that are based on values that are shared both by the audience and the company.
Just a few years ago, most of the social initiatives from brands and corporations were viewed as a form of community service by the public instead of efforts to improve a company’s finances too. However, a couple of years ago, companies started shifting as consumer sentiment towards those initiatives started changing. Instead of being seen as community service with no gains, companies started to deliver more value to customers, invest in their employees, support their local communities, and be fair with their suppliers.
Although it began before the pandemic, the virus only increased the likelihood that consumers will make purchasing decisions from purpose-driven companies that protect, trust and champion their values. That means these days, companies that don’t have a clearly defined purpose can negatively impact their bottom lines and long-term success.
As broker Eleonora Srugo has noted, “A great example of purpose-driven companies and marketing strategies has been Patagonia, the outdoor apparel brand. The company’s target audience is people that care about spending time outdoors, and the brand has shown that it understands how valuable environmental sustainability is for the consumers. The company launched a campaign that aimed to protect coastlines from big oil spills after a spill resulted in over 100,000 gallons of oil washing up to beaches near the brand’s headquarters. After the campaign, three new bills were signed into law, due to the advocacy of the company as well as other community members.
At the forefront of this type of purpose-driven culture and marketing strategies has been the youngest generation of consumers, titled Gen Z. This is a group of digitally native consumers that are passionate about mental health, social care, climate change, transparency, and more. The pandemic has made these topics more important to Gen Z than ever before, as they’ve been looking toward purpose-driven campaigns and companies that align with their own values.
Companies that have been able to create campaigns that limit their ecological impact, or even that have pledged a percentage of the sales proceeds to be donated to causes that preserve or restore nature, have seen a lot of success with customers. As long as a brand is able to craft its identity around a strong set of values – values that are authentic and relevant to the brand’s products or services – it will benefit from gaining a large customer base that shares those same values. That’s because those consumers won’t simply be purchasing a product or a service from the brand, they’ll also be supporting what the brand stands for, especially because of the shared values.
Finally, it’s relatively easy for most companies to figure out another big reason why purpose-driven marketing works with consumers: the support of the company’s own employees and team members. These days, consumers don’t simply want to make thoughtful purchases, as they prefer to be a part of something that’s a lot bigger than themselves. That means they’re turning to employers, especially those that are able to create a purpose-driven and fulfilling work environment.