2020 saw a global pandemic, global recession, political crises, racial injustice and social unrest, all of which continue to permeate in 2021. These global issues have left consumers yearning for a better world.
For over a decade, millennials have felt a personal responsibility to make a difference in the world, and this has only grown to include the older and younger generations too. Nowadays, over 60% of consumers say inclusivity is a crucial factor for brand loyalty. Consumers expect brands to take part in critical conversations and have a participatory voice in social, environmental and economic injustices.
Consumers have become the driving force behind the influx in purpose-driven marketing campaigns. These campaigns can drive emotion (Nike’s campaign with Colin Kaepernick) or provide financial support in difficult times (ThirdLove lowered its prices amidst COVID-19), but they must show positive intent. Consumers have proved themselves to be more than willing to be vocal on social media, whether it’s documenting racial injustice, activism, speaking out or boycotting brands.
Brands having a purpose can be the deciding factor in brand loyalty; consumers can love a brand one day, but boycott the next. Consumers are becoming more and more savvy at seeing through performative activism. This means purpose-driven social campaigns must be genuine and authentic to the brand. If deemed inauthentic or performative, it’s likely a brand will experience a significant amount of backlash online.
2020 reinforced to brands that their values matter to consumers. As the world stopped and physical stores closed their doors, marketing efforts were speedily transitioned to digital. This led to an increase in purpose-driven social media campaigns.
Why brands should embrace purpose-driven social
Purpose marketing builds new relationships
Purpose-driven marketing has shown to be particularly effective in creating relationships with the right consumers. Gen Z are as committed (if not more) as Millennials to making a positive impact on the world. They believe brands need to be authentic in their purpose-driven strategies.
More importantly for brands, these generations are in or coming into their prime spending years. They want to give their money to brands that have values that align with their own. The best way to target these generations is through social media; Gen Z spend nearly 5 hours on social media daily, and 40% of millennials are already shopping on social media.
A clear purpose can dictate a clear marketing strategy
Having an authentic purpose that’s clearly defined can help marketers create an honest marketing strategy that directly aligns with brand values. A defined purpose allows markets to create a social strategy that serves overall marketing objectives while differentiating themselves from competitors.
A brand’s purpose-driven ad isn’t enough to get customers on board or loyal; it’s the additional messaging consumers care about. Continuous messaging and content supporting a cause shows consumers that a brand is genuine and something worth investing in.
Purpose encourages purchases
While supporting pivotal causes improves the general wellbeing of society and the environment, it also increases sales for businesses. A good marketing campaign can improve sales, but a good purpose-driven campaign has been shown to increase consumers’ purchase consideration by 156%.
Purpose inspires employees
Having a genuine purpose that resonates with consumers is likely to also resonate with employees. Staff often pay close attention to what businesses are saying in their marketing and can be inspired to do better and build stronger team relationships.
However, it is vital this is genuine. Otherwise, brands may experience huge backlash online from ex-employees or current staff that have had negative experiences within the company. An example of this is “Outta The Gloss”, which is a collective of former Glossier employees who spoke out about blatant racism, transphobia, ableism and lack of accountability at the beauty company. The open letter was written as a result of Glossier positioning itself as a company that values diversity and inclusivity on social media.
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Examples of purpose-driven social
TikTok has launched a new campaign in celebration of Cannes Lions called #CreativityForGood. The campaign invites TikTok users to create their own TikTok-style campaigns or ads for one of four partnering nonprofits or other causes they are passionate about. The four nonprofits are: the Malala Fund, It Gets Better Project, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and One Tree Planted.
@joshporters@onetreeplanted are planting trees all over the world to reforest important ecosystems. Check them out #creativityforgood #ad #conservation♬ Bridge – DJ BAI
Users are encouraged to create their own clips to promote these causes under the #CreativityForGood hashtag, assisting in boosting the key messaging of each campaign and contributing to higher awareness. Furthermore, the video platform is donating $50,000 to each of the nonprofits featured.
@ghosthoneyI’m honored to be able to partner with @itgetsbetter for TikToks #CreativityForGood initiative! @tiktokforbusiness #ad♬ LE BALLON – Mat Hours
The platform kicked off the campaign by sponsoring popular TikTok creators to get the word out and to give users an idea of the type of content they could create for the challenge. The campaign hashtag was also available and promoted on TikTok’s Discovery page. So far, the #CreativityForGood hashtag has over 335.8M views.
The goal of the challenge is to get users to showcase their artistry and individuality, all while giving back to causes and nonprofits close to the TikTok community’s hearts.
ImpactWayv: A purpose-driven social platform
A new social media platform called ImpactWayv has launched with a focus to connect people, businesses and philanthropy for social good. It is designed to be a meaningful alternative to major social media platforms and to drive real impact across different causes and communities. It acts as a new kind of social ecosystem where users can engage and share social impacts on a truly global scale.
ImpactWayv users can connect with each other through different core components, including public and private personal networks and content feeds, the “Impact Market” where users exchange transparent impact profiles of businesses and nonprofits and “Wayvs”, a framework for purpose-driven content and information. Wayvs are a selection of different social impact topics, causes and sectors users can select to follow.
When joining the app, users are invited to follow “Featured Organisations” that consist of companies such as American Express, Patagonia. and PepsiCo, Inc. and nonprofits such as Americares, UNICEF USA and Wounded Warrior Project Inc. Users can track the corporate social responsibility of these organisations against an industry benchmark.
The positive-social platform was created as a result of interest in global social action that was accelerated by recent social unrest and change. Consumers have been demanding more from businesses and ImpactWayv is a space where organisations and people can connect on a deeper level.
Clarks Originals x FANGIRL: #InHerShoes
Shoe brand Clarks Original has collaborated with Black owned, non-gendered apparel and accessories brand, FANGIRL, to launch a new campaign called #InHerShoes. To mark Women’s History Month and celebrate diverse stories, the campaign highlighted Black British female creatives in a content series that was posted across Clarks Originals’ and FANGIRL’s social channels. The creators discussed what it’s like to be a Black woman in today’s society while styled in limited edition Clarks Originals x FANGIRL Wallabees and t-shirts.
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The series was directed by the founder of FANGIRL, Rani Patel Williams, and features the stories of five Black British women pushing culture forward. They include make-up artist and cosmetics entrepreneur Mata Mariella; menswear designer Priya Ahluwalia; singer-songwriter Raheaven; DJ and Girls Can’t DJ founder Jordss; and dancer, model and The Curve Catwalk founder Trina Nicole.
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The campaign celebrates Black women and brings their disruptive impact and movements into the spotlight. #InHerShoes inspires to “unite women of minority backgrounds” and “amplify the women” who are pioneering cultural movements and conversations, something that has been amplified by the Black Lives Matter movement and recent conversations around gender-based violence.
The future of purpose-driven social
For over a decade, consumers have been telling brands that their values matter to them; consumers need to know a brand’s authentic purpose. Many (upward of 70%) purpose-driven shoppers are willing to spend up to 35% more on products from a brand that has a positive impact (sustainable offerings) and 37% will send more on a company that offers full transparency and traceability.
As consumers become more socially conscious, nearly 60% are willing to change their purchasing habits to avoid a performative or socially-inactive brand that doesn’t align with their own values. Consumers could not be more clear about their demands for authentic brand values and it’s about time brands take note.
Businesses need to start listening to what their existing and target customers and employees want and expect from them in order to make the world a better place. These ideas and values must be present across every message a brand shares; from a full-blown social campaign to always-on customer service. This confirms to consumers that a business cares about its values and gives them a better understanding of exactly who a brand is and what it stands for.
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