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Best Practices for Activating Brand Purpose

Beyond demanding products and services from companies, consumers today also demand that brands align with their values and make a positive impact on society while pursuing profit—summed up as “making a difference.”

Best practices in brand activation should not only drive short-term marketing performance but also build long-term brand equity.

LEAD WITH BRAND POSITIONING As with any brand, the marketing of purpose-driven brands needs to be consistent with the brand positioning. This includes all marketing activation—campaigns, events, experiences, and communications.

ALLOW PURPOSE TO DRIVE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Thinking about product/service development through the lens of purpose can drive innovation and sharpen a company’s competitive edge. Purpose can spark original ideas and creativity in an organization. It can inspire employees to recast themselves into the roles of problem-solvers and value providers.

BE READY TO TAKE A STAND Companies with a strong purpose understand what they do and do not stand for. They are willing to take a stand—even on controversial issues (if it isn’t controversial, why take a stand)—to create long-term value for customers and employees.

MEASURE RESULTS AND COURSE-CORRECT WHEN NECESSARY Successful companies set metrics to track business strategy, tactics, and initiatives. This also should be the case for purpose. Consumer and customer sentiment should be consistently monitored to ensure that purpose remains relevant and that the brand continues to be associated with the purpose.

AVOID PURPOSE-WASHING When a business claims to support a meaningful cause without backing it up with genuine action, that’s “purpose-washing.” And it can seriously harm a company’s credibility fast in today’s always-on world.

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