Cultural Leadership
Truth | Insights

What’sthepointofbrandpurpose?

photo of Christopher Davies Christopher Davies 25 July, 2018

The simple answer is, there isn’t one. Not unless you do something about it.

Since Mackey and Sisodia’s book Conscious Capitalism (2013) outlined how purpose driven companies outperformed the S&P 500 index by a factor of 10.5, every CEO and Marketing Director has strived for a ‘brand purpose’. Here at McCann our entire mission is based around finding a meaningful role for brands.

I suspect that after nearly five years of workshopping, brand archaeology, architectures and away days, most big brands already have some form of purpose. We have all worked so hard to try and find the reason why our respective brands exist, and now we have it clearly articulated for everyone to see. We might even have it designed up as a nice manifesto or brand temple, so surely can now sit back and watch the profits role in as all our staff, customers and stakeholders buy into our shared sense of purpose?

But doesn’t this just make ‘purpose’ the next ‘brand values’, ‘essence’ or ‘proposition’? Something that sits at best on the wall, or at worst in the drawer, of the marketing department. Despite being more action oriented and contemporary how many of us are actually acting on our brand purpose? What was the last thing your company did, outside making and selling products, that truly brought your brand’s purpose to life? Or ask this, when was the last time your brand really made a difference to the world beyond your immediate customers?

At McCann, we would suggest if you want to make a difference, both to the world and your bottom line, you need to get active. You don’t just need a purpose, you need a problem to apply it to. An issue you can do something about.

You need to find a problem that is highly relevant in your locality and to your audiences. It must be something that can be credibly improved upon thanks to the application of your brand. It must be something, that once addressed, would reflect back onto your brand. Because, of course, brands are businesses.

At McCann, we can help you find the problems that your brand has the license to get active about. For instance, we advised McCarthy and Stone on how to help the UK population reimagine retirement in the positive; developing initiatives like their Colour Report. Or on a global scale, we brought Microsoft’s mission to life; to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. We did this through our #MakeWhatsNext initiative which connects girls with resources and STEM role models across the world, helping to tackle the problem of gender imbalance in the workplace and providing a talent pipeline for Microsoft.

So, if you want to ensure your purpose is profitable and not pointless, we might be able to help you connect with the right cultural issues to get active about. Just get in touch.

Kathryn Ellis, Planning Director, McCann Bristol

Kathryn.ellis@mccann.com