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The Power of Purpose-driven Marketing: Building Authentic Brands

There’s more to a business than simply its profits. In all likelihood, you started your company because you wanted to create something new in the market, perhaps even that reflected your unique perspective as an entrepreneur. One of the things that more business owners are recognizing is that, with a little extra consideration, their companies can also be a source of genuine good in the world.

Being driven by your values doesn’t just have positive outcomes for the community. It can also present valuable marketing opportunities. Purpose-driven marketing, when you do it authentically, can be a great avenue to make deeper connections with consumers. The result can be more fruitful engagement and better sales. So, let’s take a closer look at the concept and how you can effectively implement it.

Get to Know What’s Important to Your Consumers

In an ideal situation, your values will broadly align with those of your consumers. From a marketing perspective, though, it’s vital to understand the specific aspects of shared values they care most about. The result is that you get to make decisions that reflect your genuine purpose while also leaning into the characteristics that boost engagement.

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A good example here is sustainability. Consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability, often making purchasing decisions based on brands’ actions. Indeed, the benefits for businesses go further than customer engagement. Sustainability practices also help to minimize resource use and can even make workplaces healthier places to be, influencing employee satisfaction and retention. Sustainability has a range of elements to it, so homing in on what actions or considerations register most with your demographic can provide focus for your marketing.

For instance, Scottish activewear brand Ghillied is driven by a range of sustainability values, from working with local small businesses to an eco-friendly supply chain. Yet, much of its purpose-driven marketing is centered on the fact that its activewear is made from recycled nylon fishing nets. This is likely to be a particularly resonating element for customers whose priorities are to support a circular economy.

Therefore, perform market research on your target demographics. Rather than just generally aligning with customers’ values, ask what they specifically look for. The data you gain helps you to make informed decisions about how to better engage with your audience on your shared core ethics and goals.

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Align All Areas of the Business

The mistake it’s easy to make with purpose-driven marketing is to just focus on the marketing part. Superficial statements on your blog or about how important making a difference to the community is to your brand are unlikely to be enough.

Rather, to be genuinely impactful, the purpose that drives your marketing has to be aligned throughout your organization. This helps to ensure that the values aren’t just present when customers read your blog. Instead, they get a sense of your purpose through your product design and customer service, too. It’s a more holistic strategy.

Perhaps the best example is Ben & Jerry’s. Every part of this business is aligned with its core values related to human rights, environmental sustainability, and social justice. The result is that the product is of higher quality, their staff are more engaged, and it has a solid reputation. These are invaluable resources marketers can use to build purpose-driven campaigns, as there are genuine ethical and social standards already existing within the business.

So, how can you better align all areas of the business to your purpose? For smaller businesses, one practical approach is to hold regular all-hands meetings with staff members. Have discussions about what the company’s driving purpose is and encourage everyone to give input on how operations can reflect your core ethics more effectively. Prioritizing employee input can also be a great way to achieve cross-departmental cooperation on activism projects that reflect your values and drive consumer loyalty. Not to mention that it may be integral to gaining employee buy-in.

Such meetings tend to highlight potential marketing opportunities, too. You’ll find that collaborative sessions can highlight which members of staff are particularly engaged and vocal about making a positive difference in the company. Passionate staff members can be great ambassadors for your brand and feature in marketing projects, such as videos and social media posts.

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Rebranding with Your Values

You may need to rebrand your assets to better reflect the company’s purpose. This serves a couple of imperatives. Firstly, your branding is the most immediate communication about your company that consumers will usually experience. When your branding reflects your purpose, it shows customers what you stand for and highlights that it’s so important that you put it front and center in your company. It also helps to boost consistency. If your branding isn’t consistent with the values that you state you have, it may seem that your “purpose” is less important than you claim.

Begin with a mindful rebrand of your social media accounts. These channels are direct ways for consumers to interact with your business and are extensions of your brand identity. Ensuring coherent messaging in line with your purpose is essential.

Steps to take here can include:

  • Take stock of all your social accounts, which ensures changes are made across the board, maintaining consistency.
  • Make adjustments to better reflect your purpose. Do you need to change usernames to represent your values? Can you update your profile description to incorporate your goals? Maybe you’ll need to delete all posts and start from scratch to offer content or a brand voice that is more representative of your mission.
  • Communicate with followers. Let them know in advance that you’re making changes and why. It can help to reassure them that you’re not trying to create an inauthentic image for cynical purposes. Rather, you’re aiming for your marketing to be more holistically representative of your values.

You might also consider updating your brand visuals to better suit your purpose. That said, it’s vital to avoid the appearance of “greenwashing” in which brands give the appearance of being sustainable, with no actions supporting it. Make it clear that you’re making changes to better communicate your purpose and values. Perhaps create content showing the development of your new brand visuals and the thought that has gone into this. You’re being transparent about your efforts, which can boost customer confidence in your intentions.

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Authentic purpose-driven marketing can help you to make greater connections with consumers based on shared values. It is vital to be transparent here, to ensure that your efforts aren’t—and don’t appear to be—a superficial tactic to score sales. Ensure your staff, your branding, and your operations are aligned with your purpose, and build on top of this with your marketing strategies. You’ll find that representing the good you do in the world can benefit a lot of people alongside your business.

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