In a world of fake news, it is perhaps not surprising that consumers want brands to stand for something meaningful. A ‘brand purpose’.
In its Business & Politics study, Global Strategy Group found that 88% of consumers believe companies have the power to influence societal change.
And, with consumer trust at an all-time low, it is now more important than ever for brands to get clear on their positioning. But is brand purpose all it’s cracked up to be?
As a recent Marketing Week article discusses, there has been a growing emphasis on ‘brand purpose’ over the last few years, as companies focus on the concept of ‘do well by doing good’ to meet consumer expectations.
However, it notes that misunderstanding of the term ‘purpose’ has resulted in backlash against brands.
It’s not so much that consumers no longer value brand purpose — as the research shows — but rather they are becoming more attuned to disingenuous displays of doing purpose for purpose’s sake. In these instances, it is used as a clumsy add-on, rather than being deeply ingrained in the company and what they stand for.
Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson argued that Heineken’s ‘Open Your World’ campaign, which brought people with differing political and societal views together over a beer, could have been pulled off by any other brand with the same level of legitimacy, as the issues are not integrated with Heineken itself.
Chief marketing officer at Diageo, Syl Saller, told Marketing Week earlier in the year: “Everyone is using purpose in a different way and not defining it. And a lot of people are defining it as just things that are worthy and good for society.”
So, perhaps to be authentic with our purpose, we need to think of it as brand positioning instead.
As Marketing Week explains, some brands have realised that a brand’s purpose should “be rooted in the brand itself and what it stands for”. With better defined brand positioning, they can truly differentiate themselves from competitors. And this is an area marketers should be focusing on in 2018.
How to get your brand positioning right
Your brand positioning should clearly communicate its purpose to consumers. But to make an authentic claim on a stated ‘purpose’, brands need to promote emotional engagement.
Tapping into your emotions can boost customer loyalty, with research from Capgemini revealing that 82% of consumers with high emotional engagement will always buy the brand they are loyal to, compared to 38% with low emotional engagement.
However, there appears to be a discrepancy between how well marketers think they understand consumers’ emotional needs and how well customers feel brands are at emotionally connecting with them.
According to Capgemini’s survey, 80% of executives say they understand the emotional needs and desires, but just 15% of consumers believe they are doing a job good of emotionally bonding with them.
From where we’re sat, it looks like all us marketers need to get a better understanding of what consumers want from their brand relationships.
If you’ve defined your brand purpose but need help authentically communicating it with your audience, speak to Fireworx today.