Society: A Stakeholder In Your Business
Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator
Purpose and profit go hand in hand, and purpose without action is truly pointless. So what is a brand’s purpose? A brand’s purpose is essentially the reason for their existence beyond simply just making a profit. Of course, brands are offering their product to help make the lives of their consumers easier. However, there’s competition too that brands have to deal with. So how do they stand out? By developing a strong brand purpose through brand activism that goes beyond the product and service. Having a strong brand purpose isn’t something you can just claim, it is something you will have to prove and nourish from the ground up in order to be seen as authentic. It’s obvious that times are changing and because of technology, consumer behavior is rapidly evolving. Consumers are more sensitive to a brand’s actions than they ever were, and how your brand presents itself will affect the way your brand is perceived. It’s important that your brand has a purpose because it shows your audience that your brand stands for something bigger than what they sell. Doing good by society and paying it forward is the ultimate competitive advantage that can improve your reputation, increase market share and possibly even earn you a place in history. Your brand has the power to change to the world, and you can do so in many ways, big or small. This is not something that you should look at as a popularity contest. It’s about making a positive impact on your society. The most successful brands are the ones who go beyond just raising awareness and writing a check. That’s easy to do. Instead, brands like Lush, The Body Shop and Toms are inviting their customers to be a part of their social mission and purpose. The reason this strategy is so successful is because it’s giving the customers what they want. By listening to your audience and involving them in your cause, not only are you giving them more value, but you are also proving that your brand is in fact listening. It’s a great way to get to know your audience and engage with them on a deeper level.
If you think creating a strong brand purpose is easy, think again because if it was everyone would do it. Consumers can sense transparency and they will know if you’re using purpose just as a gimmick. Talking about what your brand stands for isn’t the same as talking about what it has done, and people know the difference. Try to educate instead of brag about your brand’s accomplishments. Of course accomplishments are great to address, however, there is a proper time and place for it. You also want to be aware that you avoid hypocrisy between your brand and its product. The best way to do that is by staying relevant because let’s face it, not every cause is going to fit your brand. For example, no one wants to hear your commitment to gender inequality if all your executives are male, just like they wouldn’t want to hear your love for the planet if your business contributes to its damage. Although doing it right is no easy task, the long-term payoff is well worth the investment. Doing it wrong could spark public outrage, a boycott and sabotage your brand forever. So focus on doing what feels right for your brand and take action. Joining and starting conversations are always a great way to promote engagement and awareness around your cause, but it’s about how you go beyond the conversation and how to turn talk into action.
“Truly wanting to help is always the best business strategy.” – Gary Vaynerchuck
Today, more brands are waking up and realizing that the consumer mindset is changing and has higher expectations for brands. Studies show that younger generations strongly consider sustainability and brand purpose over older generations when making a purchase. If a consumer is ever deciding between two brands, the determining factor is going to be their social impact. Now if you’re going to want to see positive results, you’re going to have to start from within your business. Consumers want to see brands hold up their end of the bargain and do their part. This can include paying your taxes, treating your employees well, not destroying the environment and having good customer service! When a business has a strong culture that can live by its values, it will be reflected in your brand. Also, don’t be afraid to empower your employees and let their voice and actions be an extension of your brand. Remember, your employees are the pillars of your business, so treat them well and use them to add that human element to your brand. Always focus on doing the right thing and make sure it’s not anything harmful to society. Focus on the “why” and make sure you have a clear purpose that you can demonstrate. The less there is for consumers to call out and criticize, the better. Once that’s established, now it’s time to do good and start a long-term approach to problem-solving. One successful brand to look at is Unilever and how the sales of their sustainable brands compare to the rest of their business. Back in 2010, Unilever launched their sustainable-living brands to see how business can be affected by an environmental cause. The results showed that their sustainable brand’s contributed over 70% of business growth today, growing nearly 70% faster than the rest of the business. This goes to show just how large of an impact having a strong purpose can benefit your brand. Lastly, there’s collaboration. This is something you will need to be very careful with because choosing the wrong partnership can really be detrimental to your brand and be a huge waste of both time and money. However, there is opportunity for substantial growth. Of course, your brand is getting increased exposure. New ideas and different perspectives can most definitely lead to innovation and thought leadership which would only further support your brand and its purpose. One successful partnership we can look at is Lego and Sesame Workshop, where they donated $100 million dollars to help refugee children battle trauma by offering educational programs to provide a foundation for learning, behavior and health. Other than being a world-wide issue, this cause is relevant to their brand because their focus is already on children. They found the opportunity to use their product and integrated it into positive action. Any brand can do this, it’s just a matter of staying relevant and this is just one brand that knocked brand purpose out of the park.
Don’t get it twisted, your brand’s vision, mission and values all contribute to your brand purpose, but it’s not your brand purpose. Your brand purpose is the sole reason for your brand’s existence. You own a janitorial business? Make it the most innovative, action-driven janitorial business there is. Watch your competitors and listen to what people are saying, but don’t do something for the sake of joining a trend. Copying others won’t get you ahead and it will most definitely not earn your brand its thought leader badge. A lot of the time, innovation comes from seeing everything that’s already out there and coming up with something totally new. There’s always going to be a better way to do it, it’s just a matter of finding it which is something that takes time and can’t be rushed. If your brand focuses on short-term rewards and quick payouts, you’ll be struggling to break even let alone make a profit. Whether a brand’s purpose is social, environmental or political action, all brands need to take action and demonstrate their commitment. Regardless of the service you are in, you need to focus on infusing your strengths, values and passions into your business and make sure your team members are aligned. Having a clearly defined purpose for your brand is what’s going to keep your brand alive through the years.
At MSM DesignZ, we will bring out the best in your brand and make its mark in the world. Technology is ever-changing, we rely on data analysis, testing and optimized content to build successful campaigns for our clients. Brand activism fueled by the consumer’s need for contributing to the good of society is going to fundamentally change the nature of how we do business. The magnitude of change compared to the rise of digital technology in the start of the 90’s really shows just how fast change happens. We will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at https://www.msmdesignz.com/contact/, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!