Branding Roundtable No. 2 – Purpose-Driven Branding


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Branding Magazine interviewed Leo Burnett’s Chief Strategy Officer Mick McCabe in the latest edition of The Branding Roundtable. The Branding Roundtable is a monthly, free, downloadable eBook that features interviews with industry experts, an effort to explore branding topics in greater depth. Each month, experts are asked about a different subject, and July’s topic is Purpose-Driven Branding. Read McCabe’s interview for his insights and opinions about the state of purpose in branding.

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Branding Roundtable No. 2 – Purpose-Driven Branding

  1. 1. BRANDING MAGAZINE MAY 2014 - BRANDING Purpose-Driven Branding
  2. 2. BRANDING MAGAZINE Chuck Kent Writer & Contributing Editor David Brbaklic Creative Director As an independent online daily brand journal, Branding Magazine represents an insightful source of news and opinions from the industry. A dedicated team of writers strives to keep its readers up-to-date with the biggest and freshest news about global brands, while concentrating on successful brand strategies, corporate and brand identity work, brand development and brand evolution. Advertising / Media Kit Requests General Info Web Facebook Twitter
  3. 3. The Branding Roundtable B R #02 Branding Roundtable #02 /// Purpose-Driven Branding This month The Branding Roundtable takes on the topic of purpose-driv- en branding, that sometimes derided, variously defined, aggressively re- searched and rebutted, and still active buzzword in the branding business. While some early corporate propo- nents – notably P&G, which led the ear- ly charge in this direction – may have backed off their emphasis on purpose, leading branding firms, ad agencies and PR groups are now active cham- pions of the philosophy, and major brands are still placing big bets on it. But just what is this philosophy (one that, like brand evangelism before it, borrows its language from trends in popular religion)? And where is it headed? To find out, I contacted: • Carol Cone, Global Practice Chair, Social+Purpose, Edelman joined by colleagues Freya Williams and Christine Arena, both Executive Vice Presidents in the practice • Tom Adams, Global Strategy Director, FutureBrand • Mick McCabe, Chief Strategy Officer, Leo Burnett USA • Russ Stoddard, Founder and President of Oliver Russell We also welcome your comments, which can be left on the Branding Magazine article that introduced this, the second eBook edition ofThe Branding Roundtable. Chuck Kent Moderator,The Branding Roundtable
  4. 4. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 4 / july 2014 How do you define purpose relative to brands and the companies that own them? Tom Adams, FutureBrand We define purpose as ‘why’ the brand or organization ex- ists – its higher-order objective beyond making money or attending to a specific functional need or market op- portunity. It unifies everyone working for a company or brand around a common cause that they are constantly striving to address. A purpose, unlike a mission, is some- thing that can never be completed. We are never finished in our attempt to deliver on it, and it should motivate us in our work every day. In our experience, purpose falls into three different types: • Institutional – build something enduring • Moral – appeal to what is ‘right’ and worthwhile • Values-driven – aim at higher collective ideals However, it is worth underscoring that ‘purpose’ is only one element of a strong brand. For us, it emerges from an idea and works in harmony with values, personali- ty and positioning – it’s not enough on its own to guide brand decision-making and experience. Carol Cone, Edelman We think many people are still stuck in a mindset of ‘pur- pose = our CSR initiative or cause marketing campaign’. Our point of view on purpose is that for companies that are doing it right, it isn’t about ‘how do we add purpose into our brand’, it’s about the fundamental question of ‘why does our company exist?’ (and ‘to create shareholder value’ is not an answer). As such, it should be the central animating idea of the company that defines the business you are in, the role of your company in the world, as well as what people who go to work there every day do. Increasingly people are look- ing for that purpose to have a positive impact on society. All of this is what the brand articulates. Some great examples of purpose include GE: bringing imagination to the world’s toughest challenges; Nike: bringing inspiration and inno- vation to every athlete in the world; Chipotle’s food with “integrity” providing “quality” food to consumers, sourced in a humane and sustainable ways; or Unilever: making sustainable living com- monplace and IBM creating a smarter planet. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett Purpose is very close to our hearts, as Leo Burnett was an early pioneer on the purpose front. It represents one of the core principles that mark our Humankind process, behavior and creative ideas as we work with all of our clients... We define it as why a brand exists. What its real motive is. What it’s trying to do in the world. And when you commit to that, it’s a powerful platform for brands, regardless of category or competitive situation.
  5. 5. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 5 / july 2014 Russ Stoddard , Oliver Russell Purpose is the name we apply to the evolution of cor- porate social responsibility as it moves from the realm of the regulatory to the domain of consumer-driven be- havior. Stakeholder groups, principally consumers and employees, want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want their relationships and actions to count toward doing good in their communities and the world. Companies and their brands are uniquely situated to assist in this movement by using their considerable resources and networks to make this possible. It isn’t about ‘how do we add purpose into our brand’, it’s about the fundamental question of ‘why does our company exist? Carol Cone, Edelman
  6. 6. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 6 / july 2014 Is purpose a corporate-level driver/necessity or can it be implemented purely brand by brand? Carol Cone, Edelman It depends on how the company is structured - whether the company is a branded house or a ‘house of brands’. The best-run companies will have a central corporate-level purpose. But in a ‘house of brands’ structure, where con- sumers interact with product brands, that doesn’t preclude them from having brand-level purpose missions and initia- tives too - in fact, that is best practice. Some of our clients with well-established corporate purposes are now creating purpose statements for each of their brands or business units. Unilever and Mars are examples. Each brand needs to do its part to deliver the corporate purpose. We don’t believe it works as well the other way – pur- pose-driven brands not supported by a central corporate purpose. Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell It starts at the corporate level with leadership in the C-suite and strong board support. It’s not about an ad campaign. It’s not about a brand manager pitching a product or a service with the intent of goosing short-term sales; it’s a long-term strategy that delivers ROI in the form of customer and em- ployee loyalty. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett It’smostpowerfulwhenacompanyhasabighumanpurpose that is given texture and dimension in the world through its individual brands. For instance, Nintendo as a company has a purpose that embraces the transformative, powerful good that can come when we play. And its consoles like Wii U and 3DS, and Mario, Pokémon, Zelda all in different ways allow people to access that purpose and for it to be real, alive and thriving in the world. They all serve the big purpose but do it in their own charismatic, idiosyncratic, fun way. Tom Adams, FutureBrand In our experience, for purpose to be meaningful it has to start at the organizational level – uniting everyone behind a common cause and driving decision making in every as- pect of the business and brand. Products and services then demonstrate it in action by interpreting it in context in ac- cordance with consumer needs. Done properly, purpose is as much about supply chain decisions at a category level, or corporate financial operating procedures and M&A, as it is about individual brand beliefs [In the example of Unilever] the organizational purpose to ‘make sustainable living commonplace’. The apparent par- adox in its plan to ‘halve impact and double growth’ by 2020 has influenced the way the organization works, as well as the consumer products it sells, including building a new el- ement into its brand model, changing product formulations, packaging and marketing messages – particularly in the deodorant category. It also performs extremely highly in our forthcoming reappraisal of the top 100 most valuable global companies by brand strength (the FutureBrand Index). Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell
  7. 7. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 7 / july 2014 From a brand-positioning stand- point, do you see this as a task of corporations and/or their brands adoptinganewpurposeoruncovering anexisting,inherentpurpose? Tom Adams, FutureBrand For purpose to work, it needs to be true. Which means the work of developing purpose should always be about articulating something that the organization or the brand genuinely believes in and is motivated by. You can’t fake it, and it should never be thought of as a marketing line or a claim. People need to see a brand’s purpose in its actions. In a sense, this is easier for relatively new brands – like Method or Skype or TOMs – which are in a position to ar- ticulate their purpose or cause from the outset and build their decisions and reputation around it. For brands or organizations with more history, and complex latent as- sociations, it is important to go back to their founding principles in search of the reason they were created. What bigger need or issue were they developed to ad- dress? What was the context of their invention? This is often a fruitful starting point for a development of ‘why’ the brand is here and the higher-order objective that au- thentically motivates the people who manage it. Carol Cone, Edelman Again, it depends. Often with large companies there is some great legacy purpose that can be mined as a springboard to a contemporary expression of their pur- pose. More corporations than you might expect had so- cial purpose in their DNA when they were founded, and that purpose may have gotten lost along the way, or may need to evolve to make it relevant to a world that has changed (e.g. Unilever was ‘make hygiene common- place’, now updated to ‘make sustainable living com- monplace’; IBM, Hershey, Kodak, Mars and many more did too). This lends real authenticity to the purpose. In other cases, there may be an opportunity to invent some- thing fresh. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett From experience, I have found it more useful to look in- side the brand to find a purpose. Brands are treasure troves, but you often have to look and dig a little to find the purpose and soul that can, overtime, get a little fog- gy. Importantly though, the placing of a brand’s purpose in the context of the times makes it magnetic. Allstate has had the Good Hands at the center of its brand for 50+ years, but it’s longevity is because lots of smart people over the years have added to the meaning of it, and given it new life as the culture has changed. So the character of Mayhem is a thoroughly timeless idea, that gets his resonance from the here and now of people texting and driving and people applying makeup on the way to work. “…for purpose to be meaningful it has to start at the organizational level…” Tom Adams, FutureBrand
  8. 8. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 8 / july 2014 Russ Stoddard , Oliver Russell For new, smaller companies, say a startup or a social venture, this isn’t as much of an issue – they start with a clean slate at a different point in time with a market that is increasingly responsive to purpose. This is more chal- lenging for large brands with a 100-year track record but little definition as to purpose beyond the profit imper- ative. There’s likely a purpose that can be uncovered – companies can find it in the needs of their customers, the supply-chain of their industry, or perhaps in their operating geography. If this doesn’t work, senior lead- ership can strategically use the occasion to mark a new day in the company’s history and shape purpose through buy-in from customers, employees, suppliers, and com- munities. The placing of purpose in the context of its times makes it magnetic Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett
  9. 9. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 9 / july 2014 What do you see as the essential elements of a purpose-driven brand? Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett Human truth. A purpose that allows people to access the great heights of the human condition, and the possi- bility of us at our best is irresistible. And tension. The best tensions have friction, conflict and an enemy that a brand is trying to help right on behalf of people. Without it, I have found purpose to wilt a little. Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell You’re really trying to create a public benefit with your for-profit company. This starts with corporate gover- nance. You have to be accountable and transparent in your actions, and they have to be just that – actions, not words. You also need to create a progressive, val- ues-based work environment and demonstrate strong citizenship in your communities, which ranges from the cities in which you operate to the social networks of your followers. The last essential element? Effectively tell- ing your company, product, or service story with mini- mum hyperbole. The best way to do accomplish this is to embody purpose and create a company and brands that people absolutely love, and then make it easy for them to tell your story for you Carol Cone, Edelman To us, the two most important elements of a pur- pose-driven brand are authenticity and integration. It’s one thing to believe in something, and another thing to stand for it. True purpose-driven brands leverage their purpose fully. They consistently act on it, rather than just talking about it. Purpose is clearly integrated into the brand identity, the corporate culture and operations from product development, to sourcing of materials, philan- thropy and CR strategy, even distribution systems. So consumers see, feel and experience the purpose by en- gaging with the brand – and soon, the purpose becomes the central powerful influence why people keep coming back to buy more. Tom Adams, FutureBrand We measure brand strength in terms of balancing di- mensions relating to ‘purpose’ and ‘experience’. So whilst we think purpose is vital, it’s just one half of the story of a successful brand. The purpose aspect is com- prised of three dimensions – it has a compelling vision for the future, redefines the category and delivers sus- tainable value. Within each of these dimensions we have a further set of attributes that help us to calibrate the brand and measure perceptions of its strength of purpose. These are: Inspiration, Authenticity, Innovation, Thought Lead- ership, Individuality, Indispensability, Resource Manage- ment and Price Premium. This means that the brand needs to be seen to care about the long term and lead its category, as well as making itself vital to people’s lives and deliver against long term commercial and environ- mental objectives. Purpose is not a matter of a single line that everyone can remember – or ‘checking the box’ of new marketing fads. It has to be put into action so that consumers and employees give you the credit for it. Carol Cone, Edelman True purpose-driven brands … consistently act on it, rather than just talking about it.
  10. 10. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 10 / july 2014 What are the primary benefits of purpose-driven branding? Carol Cone, Edelman Purpose-driven brands win people’s hearts and minds. They generate more loyalty, trust, love and respect than any other kind of brand. This is an incredibly import- ant thing to keep in mind, especially as we enter an era where socially conscious millennials are in the driver’s seat. There is an increasing amount evidence of pointing to the need for deeper, purposeful brand strategy, and the benefits of acting on purpose: • 90% of consumers around the world want the brands they do business with to share their core values; while just 10% of people believe think brands do it well enough (Edelman brandshare, 2014). • The vast majority of marketers – 81% in fact – see purpose as a business opportunity, while 84% believe purpose will be increasingly important to building their brands (WFA Brand Purpose research, 2013). • WPP’s 2012 BrandZ study demonstrated that busi- nesses with a purpose beyond pure profit were growing at double the rate of other brands. Tom Adams, FutureBrand The ‘FutureBrand Index’ (our new global quantitative research study of the perceptions of the Top 100 glob- al companies by market capitalization) shows that when the global public have strong perceptions of an organi- zation managing a balance between purpose and expe- rience – we define these as ‘future brands’ - the clear majority agree strongly that they would buy products and services from them, would work for them and strongly agree that the organization commands a price premium. These results are significantly above the average per- formance across our study. If these stated preferences correlate to decision-making, purpose would seem to be a contributor to tangible commercial advantages like improved sales, profitability and being an employer of choice. Interestingly, there are some organizations in the study that have a bias of strength perceptions towards purpose, and they do not perform as well as those which demonstrate a balance – hinting that purpose on its own is not enough to make a brand future-proof. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett To galvanize an organization and all of its constituents around a common mission and belief. People want to join, commune and connect but they do so most passion- ately when they have something in common and when they share something. All religions, powerful organiza- tions, clubs and brands know the uniting power of pur- pose. NASA could be about going to the Moon. But more powerfully its purpose is: To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind. Feels very different. Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell In the workplace, it’s increased productivity, coupled with an edge in recruiting talent and retaining your best peo- ple. In the market, it’s a key differentiator for a large and growing segment of consumers. For the majority of the market, you still have to compete with cost, quality and convenience considerations. But all things being equal, purpose brings a mighty hammer to the party. Tom Adams, FutureBrand “…purpose would seem to be a contributor to tangible commercial advantages.
  11. 11. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 11 / july 2014 What have been, and will be, the main obstacles to implementing and executing purpose-driven brands. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett Getting agreement is usually hard because how do you get thousands of people to rally around a single thought? That’s why the good ones are so powerful. Additionally, often purpose seems to smell of non-profit in the com- mercial world. That’s the mistake. Purpose is actual- ly an economic engine because it provides focus for an organization, it makes decision making more productive and it draws customers and talented people to a brand when they have a purpose that matters. Tom Adams, FutureBrand The biggest challenge in good branding of any kind is to make brand a decision-making filter for every aspect of the business – from supply chain decisions and partner- ships to service principles, packaging, retail and com- munications. When you think of brand as an agent of business success in the broadest terms, instead of just for marketing, then it can have a positive effect inside and outside. However, this is often hard to achieve in complex organi- zations with shareholder pressure and strong competi- tion where the default position is inertia and doing things in ‘proven’ ways, or relegating brand to logos, design and advertising. Where purpose is involved, particularly at the organizational level, it really needs to mobilize the whole company, but be clearly sponsored and developed by the executive leadership group. As a result, the most fre- quent challenge we face is helping larger organizations to embed and sustain purpose across multiple functions and markets – to make it meaningful and actionable in people’s everyday work. There is frequently appetite for an articulation of ‘why’ they are here, but this can get lost in translation as thinking moves from the boardroom to the front line. Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell [The main obstacle is] patting purpose on the head like a little tow-headed do-gooder instead of recognizing it for the powerful market force it’s fast becoming. Or look- ing at it in the old cause-marketing paradigm as a way to create a short-term sales bump with a one-off promotion to benefit a nonprofit. This isn’t first and foremost about a transaction; it’s about forging a relationship and brand loyalties that lead to a lifetime of repeat purchasing. Carol Cone, Edelman Wethinktheevidencepointstothestrongestcasesbeingbuilt when it comes right from the top – from the CEO. Another critical need is a senior-executive, cross-functional team to drive the purpose and supporting initiatives, as well as bring individual resources to the table. Third, this work should be viewed as essential to supporting the organization’s growth strategy, not a siloed exercise. Fourth, set clear success met- rics from the beginning, with ongoing reporting. And finally, transparency as to what is working and what is not. Tom Adams, FutureBrand
  12. 12. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 12 / july 2014 Is purpose-centered business a truly global strategy, or more applicable in the west or developed economies? Carol Cone, Edelman It is global. In fact, leading companies such as Gap, Natura, Tupperware, Goldman Sachs, P & G, BMW and Unilever have ongoing programs in Latin America, India, China and Africa. Many markets outside of the US/devel- oped economies are even more open to this – and have greater need for it given the opportunity to meet many unmet needs, and the freedom to create brands specifi- cally for a 21st century consumer. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett I think people are people, last time I checked. Human beings want and need purpose whether in India or in Ireland. Organizations want and need unity and focus whether in UAE or the USA. That is undeniable. Tom Adams, FutureBrand It is emerging as a cliché that a preoccupation with pur- pose is a luxury for rich consumers, or organizations attending to the newest fad in brand thinking, and that people in less developed economies are somehow less sophisticated and still catching up with the West. In our experience, articulating ‘why’ a brand is here – to im- prove lives, rid the world of disease or help children to learn through play – is as meaningful to employees and consumers in Tsingtao as it is in Texas. It’s not enough on its own, of course. It needs to be connected with some- thing tangible and real human benefits. Lego is universally loved because it knows how to make toys that encourage children’s imagination. It’s not moti- vated by selling more bricks, but by inventing the future of play. And every time a child picks up a Lego model in Moscow, Shanghai or Denmark, I would argue they feel that too. They sell more bricks, but because of what they believe in, not as an end in itself. Rediscovering this purpose is perhaps why they have grown to become the world’s second largest toy company over the last several years. Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell Actually, there’s strong research that shows the move- ment of purpose-driven consumers and business is more advanced in the world’s developing economies than it is in the U.S. or the West. Fancy that, we’re playing catch-up. The main obstacle is patting purpose on the head like a little tow-headed do- gooder instead of recognizing it for the powerful market force it’s fast becoming Russ Stoddard , Oliver Russell Mick McCabe, Leo Brunett Human beings want and need purpose whether in India or in Ireland
  13. 13. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 13 / july 2014 Tom Adams, FutureBrand A purpose is not necessarily values-driven, as I men- tioned earlier, but where it makes sense to be so, it has an opportunity to connect strongly with a demographic invested in related causes. Then the brand must deliv- er. Consumption trends do show that younger people are keen to make multiple identifications with different caus- es, rather than a single ideology, and that this might be a reflection of their unique social context with the rise of the digital age and ubiquitous, unfiltered access to peo- ple and information. But for this reason, they don’t take organizations or brands at face value – they challenge, expect authenticity and substance behind the things they believe in. So purpose needs to be built into actions, not just words or claims. Carol Cone, Edelman We are not sure you can generalize - the purpose has to make sense within the context of the brand and category, it has to have a demonstrable benefit to the end consum- er, as well as connect with them emotionally. So there’s no reason to think that wouldn’t be something all gen- erations can get behind. That being said, we do believe millennials have radically different expectations of busi- ness and of brands. This is accelerating the movement to purpose strategy. Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell Even though it’s a nearly universal drive, there’s still a continuum of purpose across ev- ery demographic or generational group. For some, it’s passionately strong. For another slice, not so much. But remember, these are at the poles of the continuum. Our research – and that of others – clearly demonstrates that nowhere is a desire for purpose as deeply felt as it is with millennials. Millennials want to work for companies that create social impact, and they want to partner with companies and purchase from brands to create social impact. The affects of these desires will be magnified as the largest generational group in history moves into its prime income generating years. And don’t compare apples to oranges: as a brand, you want to make sure you understand what triggers the highest involvement from your diverse audiences. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett Millennials are vocal and strident about it for sure and all the research points to this, but clearly purpose is a human thought not a demographic thought. The Greatest Gener- ation, as Tom Brokaw said, was a generation for whom purpose was part of their lives. Much has been made about millennials’ desire/demand for a sense of purpose, or support of their own causes, and this as being a driver of the trend. Do you see purpose as motivating across demographic groups, or only to some? Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell “…there’s still a continuum of purpose across every demographic or generational group.”
  14. 14. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 14 / july 2014 The 2014 Deloitte Core Beliefs and Culture Sur- vey shows that employees don’t necessarily believe the hype – only 30% identi- fy with their organization’s declared purpose, and even fewer see it is a fac- tor in how business deci- sions are made. Do you see this as seriously undercut- ting the potential for pur- pose-driven brands, given that employees must bring them to life – and if so, how would you correct it? Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell TheonlygroupwithabettersnifferforcorporateB.S.than consumers is employees. The Deloitte findings likely indi- catethatemployeesdon’tseetheirorganization’scorporate purposeasgenuine,ortheydon’trelatetoitasacommu- nity, or the company hasn’t done a good job of communi- cating its story internally. We see this as a big opportunity –mostcompaniestargettheirpurposestoriesexternallyto payingcustomersfirst,whentheyshouldbegininternally. Carol Cone, Edelman The problem here lies with the way leaders are be- having, how seriously the purpose is being taken and communicated, whether employees feel involved and engaged in the process of developing the purpose (at companies that excel at this, they were) and to what ex- tent expectations of employees have been clearly set - not with the concept of purpose itself. You can’t just slap a purpose on and expect the world to change - it takes commitment over the long term, lead- ership (leaders must be seen living and championing the purpose), training, ensuring you have the right skill-sets if new ones are needed, and a process of employee en- gagement - working with each team and department to articulate what it means to them and what their part is in delivering it. The good news is that in companies that get this right, productivity and employee retention are sig- nificantly higher than elsewhere. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett This may be a matter of a weak purpose or a perhaps more likely a purpose that is written on walls and in doc- uments but not behaviorally embraced. A lip service purpose. We look for belief through actions and so peo- ple can tell when something is real. One of our clients is Samsung. When you go there, you definitely believe that this is a company that is using technology to positively change the world. The products, the culture, the people, the marketing all live up to this. The trick is always align- ing purpose with behavior. That’s the difference between a great one on paper and a really great one in action.
  15. 15. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 15 / july 2014 Tom Adams, FutureBrand These difficulties have probably emerged because the organizations have not yet embedded purpose into their actions, or connected their actions with their purpose in people’s minds. There are many reasons why this might be the case, and it is not an easy task, but it does not diminish the potential for purpose-driven brands. Cor- recting this difficulty can come from three related approaches: 1. Ensure that purpose is developed with and for your people – not imposed on them as a mandate. This is a matter of co-creation and inspiration; making people feel they are joined together to do something important. So coercion and ‘train the trainer’ are not the answer. 2. Demonstrate that purpose is influencing the decisions and behaviours of your leadership, celebrate it, and show how purpose sometimes means making difficult choices. 3. Don’t talk about purpose until you demonstrate it is already built into what you do. There is nothing more powerful than an example. The problem here lies with the way leaders are behaving, how seriously the purpose is being taken Carol Cone, Edelman
  16. 16. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 16 / july 2014 Carol Cone, Edelman We think it’s important to know who you are as a brand and a business, where you have permission to play, and to approach purpose in a way that is authentic to your culture and your brand. If you’re Axe, you approach this in a tongue in cheek way and bring humor to the table. Chipotle has found that consumers are quick to let them know if they feel they’ve gone too far in the ‘food with integrity’ movement. Brands can meet all kinds of hu- man needs and being purpose-driven doesn’t neces- sarily mean playing at the top of Maslow’s pyramid. A simple bar of soap and education about hand washing meeting basic needs for safety is one of the most direct and meaningful brand stories out there at the moment. But don’t underestimate the power of some of the things brands and business can enable. We all want our lives to mean something and if brands can help add to that in some way, so much the better. Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett I see more signs of under reaching from brands. They can be more to people, by helping people be more. Some of our most successful and ambitious brands that, on the product level, make cereals, deodorants, milk, checking accounts, and French fries, through embracing purpose have become famous, successful and beloved because they hold themselves to a different and higher standard. That’s what purpose can do. Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell The risk is primarily for companies that are disingenu- ous, superficial, or unnecessarily beat their chests. Peo- ple see through this. Anyway, I don’t believe people ex- pect brands to provide 100% of their recommended daily allowance of fulfillment. But let’s get real – our work and our relationships have always defined our desire to move up Maslow’s pyramid toward discovering the meaning of our lives. This is at the heart of successful branding – providing affiliation, a sense of community, and the abili- ty to be part of something larger than yourself. Tom Adams, FutureBrand Purpose has become shorthand for ‘brand strategy’ in recent times and this needs correcting. Where purpose-driven is an appropriate description, it is not always values-driven, i.e. aiming at higher collective ideals… Strong brands articulate a ‘why’, but they still have to make sure they offer a relevant benefit to their target consumer, and that they continue to be sufficiently unique and differentiated from their competition to drive choice. I want to feel that my favourite brand shares my beliefs, but I also need it to be the best choice for the job it does. And when it comes to human meaning, the same is true now as it has always been: if you have an existential is- sue, you are not going to find the answer on the shelf. Doyouseeanyrisk,orsigns,ofoverreachinginpurpose-drivenbranding –particularlyintheimplicationthatthroughthisapproachbrandscanhelp meet the core human desire for existential meaning, for higher purpose (this marketing philosophy does, after all, borrow its name from a hugely popularbookonreligion,ThePurpose-DrivenLife)? Tom Adams, FutureBrand “…if you have an existential issue, you are not going to find the answer on the shelf.”
  17. 17. BRANDING MAGAZINE |The Branding Roundtable 17 / july 2014 NEXT MONTH on The Branding Roundtable: Employment branding Moderator: Chuck Kent Independent Brand Strategist, Writer & Contributing Editor, Branding Magazine
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