Build A Bond With Customers Through Brand Purpose


Welcome once again to Viral Octopus Magazine’s knowledge series. In our previous article, we talked about five easy to increase customer loyalty. The most important concept is quite simple. To create a real bond with your customers, you need to focus on serving them. If you really want to create a deep bond, you need to go farther than serving your customers’ surface needs. You must strive to understand their deeper needs, their values, and define your overarching mission in a way that aligns with what they believe is important. Purpose-driven marketing, also called mission-driven marketing,  lets your customers know you care about the things that they think are important. 

Taking A Stance Can Be Risky

The Association of National Advertisers chose “Brand Purpose” as its “word of the year” in 2018, the same year that Advertising Age selected Nike to receive its Advertiser of the Year award. Nike had taken a controversial and risky stance supporting outspoken athlete Colin Kapernick who took a knee for racial justice. The stance was a gamble, but the gamble worked. Consumers who supported Kap’s move were happy to make a purchase that felt like buying more than just a shoe. Many consumers buying Nike shoes felt like they were supporting the proposition that “Black Lives Matter”. Other consumers were, as predicted, outraged by the stance, but on balance, sales increased. In a surprise win, this was in part due to purchases by angry consumers who burned the shoes, in one case, while wearing them. Clearly, purpose can be a powerful influence on consumer behavior if it can make them light their feet on fire.    

People Don’t Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It

In our most recent marketing guru speech featured Simon Sinek, author of ‘Start with Why’, Sinek observes that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. Ideally, your core brand purpose needs to be connected directly to what you do in order to really make an impression on consumers. Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia was born with a purpose. The brand and its customers have been focused on environmentalism since back when passionate climber and founder billionaire Yvonne Chouinard was selling pitons out of the back of his beat-up old car. Since they build outdoor gear for people who love adventures in nature, their brand purpose is a perfect fit for their product and their customers. Lots of companies make jackets and climbing gear, but Patagonia enjoys a huge market share because consumers know when they spend money with Patagonia, Yvonne will do something they love with a portion of the profits.   

Brand Purpose Is Different From Corporate Social Responsibility

Brand purpose is not just limited to environmentalism and anti-racism. Any issue that falls under the broad rubric of corporate social responsibility (CSR) can work as part of a brand purpose.  CSR  is a great thing, but it is important to understand that it is different from brand purpose. CSR is a broad commitment to being a good local and global citizen. The benefits of corporate responsibility include the karmic benefit: when you work to create a better world, you get to live in it. CSR can also win some affection from consumers, but you need to get more specific to get the most out of your purpose-driven marketing efforts.  Brand purpose is narrower than CSR; it is your company’s more specific stance on or commitment to an issue or problem. You should choose a brand purpose that will make you irresistible to your intended audience. Embody their values in the way you provide your product or service and you will win their loyalty by making them feel that when they join you, they are part of something large that they care about. 

Examples Of Successful Purpose-Driven Marketing

  The Crayola Crayon brand found a healthy pro-social purpose that fits in perfectly with their product: enhancing creativity. Is it just a crayon? Well, sort of.. But it comes with an idea – the idea that every child is innately creative. A parent or teacher’s job is to uplift a child’s creative potential. Crayola is there to help with educational programs designed to encourage kids to explore their abilities.  Hygiene and beauty brand Dove’s recent very successful marketing campaigns have focused on their new brand purpose: broadening our ideas of beauty to be more inclusive and encourage self-esteem. For a long time, critics have railed against advertising for beauty products that they say has focused on manipulating consumers by eroding their self-esteem and making them feel insecure, like they need the product to be a worthy person. Beauty brand L’Oreal had quite a bit of success with the “Your Worth It” ad campaign, encouraging women to choose to buy premium products to enhance their appearance. Underlying this seemingly positive message, critics said, the subtext was if you do not enhance your appearance and use L’Oreal products to make you look better, you are not worthy.  Dove flipped the script and won the love of millions of women finally happy to be accepted as they are. Consumers appreciated Dove’s choice to show women’s diverse natural bodies in a light that celebrated a much less narrow standard of beauty, the beauty of smiling women (with healthy-looking skin) of all shapes and sizes in their #speakbeautiful ad campaigns.  How did it work? In two weeks, the brand gained unpaid earned viral exposure worth…over one hundred and fifty million dollars.  Use These Digital Marketing Tips!      You came here to read about purpose-driven marketing. Now you have a glimpse of how powerful it can be. Here at Viral Octopus, we are committed to several principles. Be smart. Be useful. Be happy. Evolve. We try to make the effort to think carefully about what we are doing rather than merely acting out of habit. Lazy thinking leaves the world a poorer place. Ambitious deployment of intelligence can fix what is broken. Our teams are committed to using their intelligence and developing their knowledge to perform useful tasks, helping brands reach their consumers with easy-to-use modular digital marketing services and being kind to each other, and having fun while we do it.  What is your brand purpose that will delight and engage the people you serve and bind them to your company based on shared values? How can you live those values and show your commitment to your customers?

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