When Purpose Is Wrong.

We’ve been talking about purpose-based marketing for a while. It’s at the forefront of nearly every conversation in the industry and becoming an increasingly popular approach to take. That being said, there are some brands attempting to be purpose-based without actually understanding what it means. So, let’s clear some things up.

Purpose-based marketing is about defining the thing you believe in, the reason why you exist and then aligning that belief with company culture, customer experience, and communications so that every single thing your company makes, says, and does is aligned under one single thing. It’s what draws in the best consumers — the ones that believe the same thing you do.

It doesn’t have to be about saving the world or doing something for a specific cause like TOMS or Patagonia (although it certainly can be). And it’s definitely not about one day, out of the blue, saying you believe in equal rights with a beautiful ad, while the rest of your business is saying something else. That’s what gets you into trouble.

Recently, CEO of Unilever Alan Jope has called this out by saying, “Green-washing, purpose-washing, cause-washing, woke-washing. It’s beginning to infect our industry. It’s polluting purpose.”

The problem is that it becomes an issue of inauthenticity. CEO and founder of online form builder JotForm, Aytekin Tank, explains it like this, “I would argue that not all organizations can (or should) have a social purpose. Even without a cause at the core, companies can still stay competitive and operate in a way that makes both customers and employees feel proud to associate with the brand.”

At Trumpet, we believe most brands have a purpose. But articulating it the right way is difficult and aligning culture and customer experience with it is even harder. That’s why most brands don’t do it. Instead, they go for the beautiful ad and hope the consumer thinks it’s what they’ve been doing all along.

Building Believable Brands® takes time, organizational buy-in, and extreme commitment, but it is doable. We know because we do it all the time for clients. To transform your brand into a purposeful one you need a plan. If you’re interested in one, send us a note. We’d love to hear from you.