Use Your Brand Purpose to Move People, Products, and Culture

Amon Rappaport // Jul 24 // Insights

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These days, people want businesses to be a part of the solution to the world’s problems. One survey found that 73 percent of people said they’ll recommend a company that stands for something. Sadly, only five percent actually believe that companies will deliver on their promises.

So it’s no wonder that so many companies are born with purpose, and leading with it. For these companies—like Patagonia, TOMS and Chipotle—their brand promise equals their brand purpose. Not surprisingly, some big brands have also pivoted from promise to purpose, like Dove, Pampers and Walmart.

This stuff is not only popular and good for the world, it’s also good for business. Higher purpose can equal higher profits: A study of thousands of global brands found that 50 brands which positioned themselves around purposeful values actually grew three times faster than their competition and 400 percent more than the S&P 500. Watch my 6-minute talk below to see how brands are using purpose to move people, products and culture, and how you can use your brand purpose to do the same.

FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

My name is Amon Rappaport and I’m VP of Brand Purpose at i.d.e.a. We’re a marketing agency here in San Diego, and our purpose is to help people like you create powerful ideas that are good for business, and good for the world.

For the next few minutes, I’m going to share with you how brands are using purpose to move people, products and culture, and I’m going to show you how you can use your brand purpose to do the same.

First, unfortunately, I have to start with some bad news. The earth is being destroyed. Worse, big brands are taking the blame. This is what one activist group thought about McDonald’s role in the deforestation of the Amazon. Perhaps one reason the company is now focused on finding ways to create sustainable beef.

This is the Rana Plaza factory, which collapsed in Bangladesh one year ago, trapping inside some of the 5,000 workers who stitched garments for global brands like Wal-Mart and Benetton, a fact that emerged even faster than the workers themselves. Unfortunately, 1,000 died. And once again, global brands are held responsible. Thankfully, they’re banding together to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

So, we live in an instant sharing, liking/un-liking world, and bad news travels very, very fast. So does good news, and I actually have some good news. The good news is, while people may be rising up in the streets, they actually want the businesses to be a part of the solution. One survey found that 73 percent of people said they’ll recommend a company that stands for something, and that’s the good news. But there’s bad news: only five percent actually believe that companies will deliver on their promises.

So companies are trying to appeal to this growing class of consumers that some would call aspirationals. They’re about a third of the global population, or about 2.5 billion people, they trust in brands to act responsibly, and more than 9 in 10 say they’ll pay more for a product that’s made responsibly. So it’s no wonder so many companies these days are born with purpose and leading with it. For some companies, their brand promise equals their brand purpose.

Let’s take a look: Patagonia, they’re using business to find environmental solutions. Chipotle, they make every burrito with integrity. Toms, as you know, gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every one that you buy. And even eyewear maker Warby Parker models themselves on Toms.

To get into just one example, look at Patagonia’s mission statement. It actually says they’re going to use business to solve the environmental crisis. And they went so far as to buy a full-page ad in New York Times on Black Friday to say, “Don’t buy our jackets, because of the environmental footprint. We’d rather you buy them used on eBay.”

Not surprisingly, some big brands are now pivoting from promise to purpose. Let’s take a look:

Dove. They used to promise gentle soap, now their purpose is real beauty. Pampers used to promise dryness, and now they want your baby to be healthy and happy. Walmart used to promise low prices, and now they want you to save money and live better, and they’re even doing it sustainably. And lastly, GE. They used to bring good things to life, and now they bring imagination, and even eco-imagination, to work.

Just one example from the Dove real beauty campaign, this TV spot got 30 million views and 660,000 Facebook shares in just the first 10 days. This stuff is not only popular, it’s not only good for the world, but it’s also good for business. And as just one example of how higher purpose can equal higher profits, a study of thousands of global brands found that 50 brands that positioned themselves around purposeful values actually grew three times faster than their competition and 400 percent greater than the S&P 500.

Now, the important part: how to find your brand purpose.

So let me first start by saying, think about what you as a business, an organization, an entity, are uniquely positioned to do. What are you solving for in the world? What are your solutions? Next, how are you making the world better? And most importantly, where’s the alignment between these? There you’ll find the essence of your brand purpose.

Think about Chipotle. They’re not making burritos on one hand and making the world better over here. They’re changing the food system when they make every burrito. They’re changing the way that workers are treated in the fields and behind the counter.

And lastly, when you’ve found your brand purpose, we believe you can use it to move people, products and culture. Here’s how: You need to make your products and use them with purpose. Again, Chipotle’s burritos are a great example. Even Dove soap is made by Unilever, one of the most sustainable companies in the world. When you do that, you need to give people a way to be a part of the solution, whether it’s buying a burrito, or spreading the message that women are beautiful in their own skin.

And finally, you can tap into a growing desire for culture change. Whether it’s inside your own organization, or in the wider world. Changing the food system, changing the image of beauty, or advancing whatever purpose you came here to advance. And with that, I hope you all will move people, products and culture with your brand purpose too.

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