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No one wants to hear about your commitment to gender equality if your executives are all male.

September 23, 2019

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No one wants to hear about your commitment to gender equality if your executives are all male.

September 23, 2019

Purpose-driven marketing. You can google "cause marketing" or "values-driven marketing" as well. It's officially a trend. Again.


In 2016, a Forbes article said: "Purpose becomes the heart of marketing". Sounds good, right? Over the last decades, purpose marketing made marketers and their clients feel better.  


Even more, research shows over and over again executives, marketers and consumers are in favour of purpose-driven brands. Really?


In my opinion, purpose marketing doesn't exist. 

Or at least, it shouldn't exist. Your business should be purpose-driven and marketing can help to tell the world what you do to fulfil your purpose.


Research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in association with EY has found that companies that operate with a clear and driving sense of purpose, beyond the goal of just making money, outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of 10 between 1996 and 2011. Developing a cohering purpose, such as community growth, poverty reduction or environmental friendliness at the core of business strategy influences decision-making, inspires employees and customers, and builds trust (an increasingly essential ingredient).


Of course, old-fashioned corporates struggle to adapt to a purpose-mindset. These companies and their brands were built for-profit and to conquer the world no matter what. It needs strong leadership to steer in the purpose direction. It's a hell of a job: will customers read it as another greenwashing example? 



Another example, Starbucks’s purpose: "To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.” This past spring two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia after the store manager called the police claiming that the men had not made any purchase but were refusing to leave...


Don't get me wrong. The link between purpose and profit is undeniable. Look at how Unilever’s purpose-led brands - such as Ben & Jerry’s, Vaseline and Seventh Generation - are growing significantly faster than their other brands are.


Nike, Dove and The Body Shop are examples of brands that live their purpose. This has allowed them to occupy a meaningful place in their customers’ minds and catapult their growth. Every company was founded with a core purpose, but many have neglected their origins on the journey to scale revenue growth or have struggled to evolve it.


What's the purpose of your company or brand? Are you committing to gender equality when your executives are all male?


Think twice.


PS: Don't forget anybody's perfect. Fortunately, customers are forgiving for brands that live their purpose.





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