Carolyn Butler-Madden (lead image) is the author of two books on social purpose – For Love & Money and Path To Purpose. As chief purpose activist of her B Corp certified consultancy, The Cause Effect, she helps leaders define and embed purpose strategically into their business and brand to deliver meaningful impact. In this guest post, Butler-Madden gives her four tips to more authentic marketing…
One of the most common questions I am asked by marketers of businesses that are navigating their path to purpose is “how do we market our purpose?”. They want to know how to tell people about the good they’re doing, without coming across as chest-beating. Yet the very way that question is framed reeks of manipulation. So, how do you market your purpose authentically?
We all know how powerful marketing can be when it’s done well. The problem is that no one likes to feel manipulated. That is the very reason that many people view marketing as the “dark arts”. But if we accept that marketing is incredibly powerful, what happens when we consider how to use it as a force for good? It becomes a platform for a purposeful organisation to scale their positive impact.
To do this, it’s essential to reframe our perspective on marketing. Here are four ways to do this and to market a purpose-led brand authentically:
1. Action over advertising
Instead of thinking about how to advertise or market your purpose, ask yourself what actions your organisation can take in service of its purpose. The defining characteristic of a purpose-led business is the action, beyond business as usual, that its purpose has inspired.
A great example is Patagonia, whose purpose is to save our home planet. This purpose inspired them to launch Patagonia Provisions, stepping the apparel business into the sustainable food category.
What inspired Patagonia to branch into food? The simple fact that the food industry has the single-greatest impact on our environment. The people at Patagonia realised that if they were serious about saving the planet, they had to show that food can be produced sustainably and that there was a market for it. Patagonia Provisions is the result.
Your organisation will become known by the actions you take, not by telling people how purposeful you are.
2. Collaboration over communication
A purpose-led brand should think less about communicating ‘the good its does’ and more about how it can collaborate with others to scale its impact. Marketing then becomes an invitation to others to join your business in creating impact. So instead of thinking of your customers as consumers, view them as potential collaborators in supporting the change you are committed to creating. I love the example of Airbnb’s Australian campaign supporting the marriage equality postal vote.
In 2017 Australians were asked to vote on whether LGBTQIA+ people would be given the same rights as heterosexual Australians. In the lead-up to the vote, Airbnb launched the campaign “Until We All Belong”, inviting Australians to show their support for marriage equality. The organisation commissioned the design of a ring, featuring a gap in it, representing the gap in marriage equality. Airbnb made the ring available for free and invited Australians to wear it as a symbol of their support for marriage equality.
When marketers view their target audience as collaborators instead of consumers, it changes the dynamic, increasing their ability to scale their impact.
3. Position others as the heroes of your story
Another common mistake is to try to make your brand the hero of your story. That’s always going to be viewed with scepticism. So instead of asking your audience to see your brand as
the hero, make others the heroes of your story. Make your customers or clients the heroes. Make your impact partners the heroes. Make your employees the heroes. Make anyone the hero other than your brand.
To understand what this can look like, let’s revisit the Airbnb example. Who were the heroes of their “Until We All Belong” campaign? Every single person who wore the ring as a public declaration of their support for marriage equality. Those rings started important conversations. Airbnb empowered ordinary Australians to lead those conversations. Heroes.
4. Create movements of change over marketing your purpose
Think about how you use marketing to build a social movement. Airbnb’s purpose is to help people feel like they can belong anywhere. Patagonia’s is to save our home planet. Both organisations use their marketing as a channel to build their respective movements of change.
Once you accept the power of marketing to influence and shape movements for change, you can then choose how to use it positively. It’s that simple. It’s also that powerful.
Please login with linkedin to commentCarolyn Butler-Madden
Luisa Dalli (lead image) is a senior strategist at Havas Media Group. In this guest post, Dalli says Australia didn’t merely elect the Albanese government but it also shone a bright light on where we are and what we want as a nation… It’s been two months since Australia’s federal election, yet the underling feeling […]
In uncertain times, trusted sources become even more significant in the world of media. Elise Bennett (pictured), head of account management (APAC) at Outbrain, reveals what advertisers need to know about the new trust exchange. Instability breeds uncertainty. From bushfires to the pandemic and war, there’s been plenty of both to go around in recent […]
Independent SEO agency Optimising has further reinforced its commitment to the environment by being part of 1% for the Planet, on the back of it gaining B Corp Certification last year. Optimising continues to walk the walk around environment sustainability by being part of the global movement, which inspires businesses and individuals to support environmental […]
Media and communications staff at all levels are invited to take part in a national online survey examining perceptions and practices around cultural diversity, inclusion, and representation in the industry. The FAIR survey, now in its second year, provides a snapshot of cultural diversity in the communications industry, as well as how practitioners incorporate diverse […]
PubMatic has announced a partnership with AlikeAudience in Australia, Japan, and Indonesia, enabling advertisers to access quality audience data on the supply side. Activating data on the supply side cuts down complexity and delivers more efficiency and value for both media buyers and data owners, through higher match rates and better CPMs. The partnership expands […]
Live streaming service Optus Sport will be showing all major games of the Spanish La Liga Santander and the LaLiga SmartBank, giving football fans an extra reason to become subscribers. The Spanish Football League is considered one of the greatest in the world, containing the likes of European champions Real Madrid, Catalan giants FC Barcelona, […]
In the recently launched campaign for TVNZ+, Dentsu Creative, and Sweetshop’s Damien Shatford, have delivered an entertaining look at the new streaming brand, TVNZ+. TVNZ launched the reimagined streaming brand last week to better reflect its digital offering, repositioning the platform as a streaming destination rather than an OnDemand catch-up service.
Ruffie Rustic Foods have teamed up with Nikki Van Dijk and Surfing Australia to encourage groms to be kind to their bodies and minds through providing nutritious, plant-based meal options. Ruffie Rustic Foods are on a mission to prove that plant-based eating can be easy and convenient, without compromising on flavour. Whether you’re vegetarian, flexitarian, […]
Nestlé Australia today launched Tuck In!, a program supporting emerging First Nations creatives to establish career pathways in commercial content creation. Tuck In! invited First Nations chefs and aspiring content creators to develop recipe and video content celebrating the combination of bush foods and Nestlé products. Nestlé Oceania marketing & communications director Anneliese Douglass said […]
The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that the British Army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts had been compromised by hackers who used them to promote their non-fungible token (NFT) products. The two accounts have since returned to normal, as the Ministry said via their own Twitter page. “The breach of the army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts […]