In The Australian: Brand purpose, you can’t fake it until you make it

brand purpose

The rise of conscious consumers in Australia means that companies can no longer keep doing what they are doing. They need to unpick previous business approaches to create a new way of operating – leading with purpose first. 

As leaders we always have the choice to either be proactive or reactive. Waiting around for things to change means you get left behind and right now,  more than ever, there’s a spotlight shining on purpose.

Just as consumers want brands to act on their purpose programs, employees want their employers to act too. Talking about being purposeful differs hugely to action – and people are wising up to know the difference. When it comes to being purpose-driven you simply can’t fake it until you make it.

Both consumers and employees are demanding transparency and authenticity on the issues that matter most to them.

It is no longer enough to have a short commute time, free drinks on Friday and your birthday off. Australian workers are looking to employers for much more. They want to know that company leaders and their key decision makers are behaving in a prosocial way.

It’s then these purpose-driven organisations that successfully align their values with their employees and customers that are well positioned to unlock growth and genuine value exchange.

A recent study by Porter Novelli and Quantum Market Research, entitled Purpose Premium, found that authenticity matters for Australians, and offsetting less responsible behaviours with a Corporate Social Responsibility  (CSR) program will no longer cut it.  A vast 91 per cent of respondents agreed that a company’s operations must be aligned with their claimed purpose.

The great resignation and the rise of conscious consumers in Australia means that companies can no longer keep doing what they are doing. They need to unpick previous business approaches to create a new way of operating – leading with purpose first.

Australian owned, leak-proof undies brand Modibodi is living its vision and brand purpose by normalising conversations on taboo subjects around bodily leaks. It uses its platforms to advocate for and share knowledge on periods, incontinence, menopause and postpartum.

Truly living its brand purpose, it’s redefining what postpartum looks like. In partnership with Getty images, the brand photographed 28 women in 10 countries creating 1,500 assets that generated enormous PR and influencer reach for the brand, exceeding campaign expectations and generating sales uplift.

Millennial and Gen Zs – who make up (or will make up) a large cohort of our workforce –  are fast becoming the most valuable consumers.  They are also more loyal to purpose than price. Intensely Googling what a brand stands for and if its actions live up to their claimed purpose before they buy, invest or work for them.

So what does all this mean for businesses today?

There is a monumental shift towards purpose-driven business. Companies are starting to measure their impact (purpose) alongside people and profit.

Take a look at Patagonia – true pioneers of purpose, a few years ago changed their mission statement from: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”, to a much cleaerer purpose-driven mission of “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.”

From Black Friday sales last year the company donated USD10 Million to protect the environment. Sales were five times more than their expectations.

The potential for businesses to impact the planet as well as profit is huge. This applies to companies of every size.

Brand strategy and purpose is inextricably linked to a company’s vision and mission. A clear sense of purpose will help bring the company vision to life and help to consistently answer the age-old question of ‘why are we doing this?’

For companies yet to discover their brand purpose. Be patient. There is a process to discovering your brand purpose. It’s then about empowering your leadership team and employees to act in line with your purpose. And finally, to define how you will positively impact the world on behalf of consumers.

Think less about perfection and more about progress.

Business can be a powerful source for good. Future thinking businesses know that doing good through business is good for business. The time to create purpose-driven programs is now as businesses not thinking in this way will mean you get left behind.

To become a changemaker or lead a movement, we need to start engaging our communities with authenticity, meaning and empathy –  start leading with our hearts to discover what we are passionate about and use business purpose as a force for good and growth for our people, planet and profitability.


Nicolette Briscoe is founder and marketing consultant at Moonshot Marketing.

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