Stand for Something: The Magnetism of Purpose-Driven Branding

Having a purpose-driven brand is a lot like the expression, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything.” We as humans love to stand behind our beliefs.

Whether you’re a non-profit or a sustainable green business, it’s the causes that we stand behind that often define who we are. And who we align ourselves with.

Finding the why in which you do business will help to attract an audience, loyal customers, and driven employees.

Warby Parker Impact Foundation purpose-driven branding - we believe in vision for all
Warby Parker Impact Foundation, a charity extension of their optical brand to further increase access to vision care.

What Do You Believe In? Discovering Your “Why”

Maybe it’s the melting ice caps, factory human rights in Bangladesh, or the rising mental health crisis. There’s a lot going on in the world and we’re all going through it.

But the big question to ask yourself: what problem can my organization help solve?

Make sure it’s intentional and ties directly to your business’ daily practices. Your customers will progressively trust you more and more as your marketing puts your causes on a pedestal.

And this can have a major impact on your revenue. Forbes covered a groundbreaking consumer study by Porter Novelli.

When consumers were shown a company’s purpose-driven attributes:

Purpose and Branding
75% were more likely to trust them
78% were more likely to remember them
78% would work for them
72% would forgive the company of mistakes

Purpose and Buying Decision
2/3 consider brand purpose in buying decision
71% would choose a purpose-driven brand if price and quality were the same
62% see purpose as important when making any purchase, even impulse buys

Read the Full Report from Porter Novelli

“Hard work is a prison sentence…
if it does not have meaning.”
– Malcolm Gladwell –

A great example of a brand that’s understood this and applied a central ethical ethos to everything they do is Patagonia, the ethical marketer’s North Star.

Their mission? To save our home planet.

With that direction, they focus their resources on paying equitable wages, causing no unnecessary harm, innovating robust repairable products, and protecting the planet.

Here’s an example: instead of putting a product or sale at the forefront of their home page like most clothing companies, Patagonia puts a social cause.

Nothing matters to Patagonia without the planet – and they make it apparent.

Patagonia website hero - "Keep the Tongass Roadless"

Know what you stand for – and incorporate it into all of your communications. That includes email campaigns, ads, website design, product labels, and social media. That way, your audience knows exactly what you’re about without question.

Patagonia website footer - purpose-driven branding
Patagonia website footer

How to Showcase Your purpose

Consumers are hesitant as hell when it comes to believing in marketing – roughly 96% believe that you’re up to no good. It’s like everyone has real-time Oompa Loompa back up singers – “I don’t like the looks of it”.

Oompa Loompa 2020 meme
Source

Make it blatantly obvious what you stand behind. Be responsive to current events that are relevant to your cause; take a stance on the issues that matter to your organization.

It instills trust that you’re not simply driven by KPIs and sales, but progressive change – creating a better world for future generations.

There’s credibility in steadfastness. And don’t worry if you ruffle a few feathers along the way. It weeds out the loyal fans with those just passively follow along, which creates a loyal customer base. Remember that Porter Novelli article?

Ultimately, stay true to who you are.

“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.”
– Seth Godin –

Find Your purpose-driven Community

When it comes to discovering your community/tribe/audience/consumer base, think about those who care about your focal cause.

Let’s take a look at the change-driven creamers Ben and Jerry’s. On their social media and blog, they address many of the topical social issues that matter to their consumer base.

They’ve aligned themselves as catalysts for social change – while also being the proponents of ice creamy goodness (they even have vegan options now!)

Everything from critical race theory to disproportionate incarceration rates amongst racialized communities, B&J is doing their part to ensure that their mission is intertwined within their business practices.

And their stance attracts negative comments from those on the opposite end of the spectrum. This doesn’t phase B&J. They continue to serve pints and hard hitting issues one post at a time.

It’s worth noting: if you’re attracting haters and you still have fans, you’re doing something right.

Forging Your Purpose-Driven Brand Identity

Look at the your favourite aspirational cause-driven brands. Who is it that follows them? What are some underlying cultural or community factors?

Though it is important to find your own brand tone, it’s helpful to understand what works in the marketplace and why.

Forging out your own purposeful brand identity just takes a bit of time and research, deep diving into the convergence of your uniqueness and the priorities of your main target market.

If you need help finding your brand voice or identity, feel free to schedule a chat with me!


And what does JCC stand for?

I stand for equitable access to goods and services that are making tomorrow a better place. I stand for transparency – from manufacturing to marketing.

I stand for feeling good about yourself and the impact that you’re having on the world. It’s not about chasing dollar amounts – I’m chasing a better future for my children.

That’s why I’m a part of the Ethical Move and Clean Creatives. I will continue to use my copywriting and branding business as a platform for positive change.

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