A purpose-driven marketing campaign does more than promote a good cause, it tells the world what you stand for. In the past few years, purpose-driven marketing campaigns have become increasingly popular, driven largely by a shift in consumer preferences. Gen Z’ers have officially aged into the consumer pool, and they’re pushing companies to do more to address social issues and causes.
Younger consumers are more likely to demand transparency, and to hold brands accountable for their impact on society. But it’s not just younger consumers who are pushing for change. A recent global study showed that consumers are four to six times more likely to trust, buy and champion a company with a strong purpose over one with a weak purpose. Brands are increasingly responding to this pressure by designing purpose-driven campaigns that focus on social responsibility.
Purpose-driven marketing campaigns can take many forms. Whether it’s a pledge to limit your company’s environmental impact, or a matching donation drive, brands are exploring creative strategies for fueling their purpose-driven marketing campaigns. If you’re thinking of using one of these campaigns to deepen your relationship with your customers and increase your brand awareness, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips from industry leaders on how you can fuel your own purpose-driven marketing campaign.
Use Data to Show Impact
“With a purpose-driven marketing campaign, customers will want to know the real impact your company is having on the cause you’ve chosen. If you decide to donate a certain percentage of your profits to a charity organization, for example, capture that data and share it with your customers. If you’ve given blankets to a homeless service provider, for example, share how many you’ve donated. The real-world impact will be much more meaningful to your customers than a vague promise of support. They want to know what you really stand for.” – Rabah Rahil, CMO at Triple Whale
Connect it to Your Brand
“Your purpose-driven marketing campaign should be guided by your passion and it should align with your brand. How can you use your company’s position and authority to give back to the community, while raising your brand awareness at the same time? The campaign should be clearly based on your brand identity. For example, TOMS shoes famously gave away a pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair of shoes that a customer bought. By designing a purpose-driven marketing campaign that aligns with your brand, you’re able to give back while also building your public profile.” – Akhilesh Srivastava, Founder and CEO of Fenix Commerce
Solve a Problem
“An effective purpose-driven marketing campaign will begin by defining a problem in that company’s industry, and then explain what they’re doing to help solve it. For example, Adidas ran a purpose-driven marketing campaign where they first delved into the plastic waste problem, and then explained how they’re using recycled plastic content in their products. Present the problem, and then show how you’re part of the solution. Consumers are savvy, and they want to know that you’re aware of the problems in your industry. Show that you’re taking an active role by trying to offset that damage and be a force for good.” – Dan Bladen, Co-Founder and CEO of Kadence
Find What Matters to Your Customers
“You probably know a lot about your customers – use that information to figure out what matters to them and design your campaign around the issues they care about. Your purpose-driven marketing campaign has to be meaningful to your customers if it’s going to be effective, so use your data to determine what causes will likely resonate with them. A lot of companies have done this well – for example brands that outfit people for the outdoors will often run marketing campaigns that center around environmental causes. By using data-driven methods to design your campaign, you’re more likely to connect with your customers.” – Daniel Tejada, Co-Founder of Straight Up Growth
View Your Customers as Partners
“When you run a purpose-driven marketing campaign, you’re utilizing the collective power of your customer base and directing it towards a good cause. Your customers are more than just consumers, they’re your partners, and you’re working together to address social causes that you both care about. Make sure your campaign is inclusive and responsive – it can incorporate customer testimonials, if possible, or show real people volunteering in the community. By viewing it as a collaborative partnership, your marketing campaign will be much more authentic.” – Phillip Akhzar, CEO of Arka
Lead with Passion
“People are very good at sniffing out disingenuous marketing campaigns, so make sure you’re leading with genuine passion. Your purpose-driven campaign has to be centered around the purpose, and if that doesn’t translate in the campaign, people will quickly lose interest. Find an issue that both you and your customers are genuinely passionate about, and one where you can make a real difference. Results matter, and if it’s an area where you can only make a tiny impact, it will be difficult to sustain interest. Maybe you want to improve childhood literacy, and your first choice is to make a donation to a big nonprofit. Consider instead supporting a smaller nonprofit based in your community, where your support will be much more meaningful and visible. Seeing the results of your campaign firsthand will make it easier to sustain interest, and that will translate in your campaign materials.” – Bradley Hall, CEO of SONU Sleep
Tie Your Campaign to Your Mission
“Your company has a mission statement, make sure that your purpose-driven marketing campaign is tied to it. Before you jump into a campaign, go back to your mission and figure out what messaging will complement the work you do. How can you take your mission to the next level and use your company’s power for good? The marketing campaign has to be cohesive and a natural extension of your brand.” – Jason Wong, CEO of Building Blocks
Find Your Niche
“One way to set yourself apart from your competition is to align your brand with a mission and an ideology. This is especially effective if you’re coming up in a competitive field and are looking for a way to differentiate yourself. Creating a powerful purpose-driven marketing campaign can tell customers why you’re different, and what you stand for. Take Ben & Jerry’s for instance: they have been very vocal about different social causes, and that has helped to set them apart from other ice cream brands and created a loyal following. Figure out what your niche is, and align your marketing campaign with your brand identity.” – Jason Boehle, CEO of QuaGrowth
“When designing a purpose-driven marketing campaign, you’ll need to plan for the long-term. Show consistency and dedication to the cause you’ve chosen. If your brand is constantly jumping from one issue to another, it will come across as insincere. It can be tempting to take on a wide variety of issues, and to take a stance on everything. If you’re passionate about a lot of different causes you can absolutely support them! But for the sake of your marketing campaign, zero in on one or two issues where you can have a measurable impact. Keep the campaign focused, and your customers will respect the commitment.” – Jason Reposa, Founder and CEO of Good Feels
“If you want to capture the interest of your customers, focus on timely issues that are top of mind for your audience. Consumers are bombarded with different issues every day, and they likely feel strongly about them and want to contribute to the solution. If you can present a meaningful way that they can tackle timely issues, you’ll not only drive more support, you’ll cultivate a more sincere connection with your customers.” – Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder of The Quality Edit
Ask Tough Questions
“Companies that want to activate their brand’s purpose need to ask themselves some tough questions: Why does the brand exist? What role does it play in customers’ lives? What challenge does it solve? How would the world be different without it? They will soon discover what makes the company special and can use that to build stronger connections and greater relevance with customers.” – Bill Theofilou, Senior Managing Director for Accenture Strategy
Attract Top Talent
“Simply put, purpose-driven businesses perform better and attract more customers and better talent. Employees who feel motivated by a stronger sense of purpose and clear social incentives tend to be more productive on average. Everyone in your company knows that one of your key objectives is to generate profits, but having a purpose beyond the bottom line is what motivates staff to push towards profitability. Today’s customers are more conscious of social issues, from environmental matters to charitable causes, and are more likely to respond favorably to a company that shows their commitment to being part of a larger social and environmental context, with a stated purpose of improving the lives of all its stakeholders.” – Cheryl Baldwin, Director of Marketing and Communications at WSI
By designing a purpose-driven marketing campaign that is both authentic and meaningful, you can ensure your brand is giving back while also forging a deeper connection with your customers. Companies are not obligated to support social and environmental causes, but it makes good business sense to connect your brand with a deeper meaning.