The Future of Purpose-Driven Marketing

Purpose Driven: Marketing

What are the credible next trends in purpose-driven marketing?

The drivers for the next trends, live in the distinction between purpose driven and cause marketing. When conflated, the brand is too elastic and unrelatable to other signals emanating from the brand, appearing led by public opinion and inauthentic.

Cause is a social justice issue a brand adopts, advocates or attacks due to brand purpose alignment, the test of which is if the cause resonates with consumers and what they believe the brand believes.

Purpose refers to the brand’s raison d’tre, a factor running through all they do and say, like Blackpool through a stick of rock, so while purpose driven marketing does not equal cause marketing, causes adopted should be because of the brand’s stated and intrinsic purpose, signalling authenticity to consumers of the brand.

Consequently, twin emergent trends beckon. 1) Customer Experience (CX) and Engagement Remodel to plot customers’ journey along emotional, psycho-graphic and behaviouralisation axes, validate causes in line with purpose and consumer advocacy, while ensuring responses meet expectations and facilitating adoption of the second trend. 2) Transformative digital technology including Big Data Analytics, closes the loop on gaining true customer insights and anticipating needs and concerns.

Will we reach saturation, with ALL brands conveying a cause message and starting to put consumers off?

brown petaled flowers under body of water

General ’cause fatigue’ will occur, but consumers of specific brands won’t be put off just due to this. However, many brands just never define a distinctive driving purpose and many do not adopt cause marketing or do so clumsily, which is more likely to put consumers off than embracing a cause they care about. This is precisely the value of the CX Remodel and Big Data Analytics, as, with a finger on the pulse of consumers, cause marketing will resonate, dictated by customer engagement and analytics. By being attentive to the tribe that believes their purpose, promise and proposition, brands can be responsive.

What are the future pitfalls, for example,  going off-brand, overreaching and even misreading customer cues and values?

man climbing on tower near buildings at daytime

These ‘brand risks’ cannot be overstated – products, activities, stances and causes not aligned with brand positioning and customers’ brand perception, rooted, ironically in the lack of a purpose driven brand strategy. It’s crucial to map CX models to consumer profile points and expertly plumb all available data and insights.

With consumers increasingly savvy, how can brands best build a purpose with integrity?

By ensuring consistency in messaging across digital and traditional platforms, in store, online and through all channels through which they engage with their brand tribes.

By ensuring the brands they build are resonant and sustainable – based on a clear purpose and vision, and immense clarity on what the brand means in the perception of the target audience.

By being consistently clear and unequivocal about who they are and what they stand for.

As long as brands’ causes are aligned to brand purpose, they will have integrity. As long as their activities and offerings are relatable to customer needs and wants and are purpose driven, their consumers’ perception will always be one of reinforced integrity.


Chinenye Ikwuemesi

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