“The role of companies as solvers of social and global issues is increasingly greater. Purposeful marketing is a natural continuum for this development,” says Lars Holm, Global Senior Manager CR at Dentsu Aegis.
Purpose marketing is experiencing a strong upsurge. In 2017, already 47 per cent of the winning campaigns at Cannes Lions were related to purposeful marketing. The number has only grown every year.
The phenomenon is backed up by a strong financial driver: when they succeed, campaigns focusing on solving common challenges produce significantly more value for investment when compared to other campaigns.
According to Holm, purposeful marketing and operating responsibly offer at least two benefits to companies. One is the efficient construction of brand image and trust among selected target groups, which will before long be reflected in the balance sheet and the company’s result. The other benefit is clarifying the purpose of the company’s existence for the employees.“The better the company delivers its purpose and significance in the society, the more motivated people are to join them, especially younger generation experts and star players.”
Take a look in the mirror
So how do we get started?
“Think together what socially meaningful issues resonate with your brand and operations. In what kind of a mission can your company truly believe? What moves your customers and target audience?”
When the mission is clear, you can get a sharper edge in your marketing efforts. This can even help clarify the operations of the entire company.
“Purposeful marketing is part of a larger context,” reminds Holm. “For instance, the top management of a responsibly operating company should keep in mind that also the everyday operations of the organisation must be in line with the selected targets – working against them will easily lead to scandals and negative attention.”As an example, Holm mentions the Fearless Girl campaign that attracted plenty of attention because the parent company of the campaign was caught paying female employees categorically lower wages.
Measure the impacts
Holm’s central message is that it must be possible to measure and pass forward the impacts on society of marketing efforts aiming at purposefulness, just like those regular marketing impact measurement. This is the only way to build trust with a long-term perspective.
Measuring the impacts isn’t always easy. Even up to 60 per cent of purpose marketing campaigns’ societal impacts are not measured.
“The more complicated the matter, the more subtle the achieved societal changes probably are, which also means that they should be inspected with a longer perspective. Sometimes, observing the changes may take up to several years.”
As a result, you must be prepared to spend time and money also on the impact measurement. And if the challenges seem great, you should contact the right kinds of experts for help.
“For instance, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and charities have traditionally excelled in realising social and civil campaigns as with assessing their impacts.”
When impacts are achieved, make them visible but think twice about how visible. According to Holm, product packaging, places where products are bought and websites related to the topic are natural places for passing on the success of purpose marketing.
“Whereas a massive media campaign can be a riskier approach – in these cases, you have to be absolutely certain that the company really is completely in line with the aspired mission.”