Step Up To Stand Up: The Power Of Authentic Brand Purpose

Step Up To Stand Up: The Power Of Authentic Brand Purpose
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We’ve all heard about the power of purpose, but what does it really mean? In this guest post, Fjord Asia Pacific, part of Accenture Interactive, general manager Bronwyn van der Merwe (pictured), explains what sets purpose-driven brands apart.

Australian brands love purpose. More and more, brands are looking to establish it, whether it be by championing sustainability or joining the campaign for equality. For the most part, these brands would see marked financial benefits to the adoption of purpose. However, in this age of transparency, Australian brands must go beyond the brief – ensuring that the root of their brand purpose and fabric is authentic.

Accenture’s research found that nearly two-thirds of consumers want companies to take a stance on issues they believe in, so it makes sense for the bottom line to activate a purpose-led brand. However, purpose can’t be freely added to just any brand. There must be authenticity to really power purpose-driven messaging, otherwise brands risk losing the trust of discerning audiences.

For Australian brands to truly connect with their purpose, they must either establish one at conception or dig through brand history to find an example of a great moment that can be condensed into core messaging and packaged into purpose.

For example, IKEA – already a leader in environmental sustainability — recently broadened its social impact by committing to employ refugees at production centres in Jordan. This effort is part of the company’s long-term goal to employ some 200,000 disadvantaged people around the world.

In addition, personal care brand Dove has a strong focus on championing positive body image, specifically the Dove Self-Esteem project.

Further, brands must acknowledge that true purpose can come at the cost of exclusion. Take Nike’s campaign with Colin Kaepernick; while stock initially crashed, Nike recovered and ended up over-delivering.

Understanding how to instil a sense of “brand belonging” through a clear and relevant purpose is quickly becoming a prerequisite for competitiveness. Accenture Interactive believes there are three guiding principles that set purpose-driven brands apart:

Be human

Some Australian brands that excel at product quality and customer experience believe their customers will continue to be loyal, regardless of their brand’s mission. However, many Australian brands are looking for new ways to engage their customers.

Australian brands need to human. Beyond asking the right questions, companies need to establish emotional connections with their customers. They need to involve customers, employees and the larger ecosystem of stakeholders to identify shared values and areas where the company can make a difference. Communication is key and Accenture Interactive’s research found that 64 per cent of consumers find brands that actively communicate their purpose more attractive.

Be clear and authentic

Standing for everything also means standing for nothing. Australian consumers don’t fall for insincere attempts to pull at heartstrings. They do, however, reward authenticity, strong leadership and outspokenness. Accenture Interactive’s research found that 65 per cent of consumers are influenced to buy a brand, product or service by the words, actions, values and beliefs of a company’s employees. To create a sense of brand belonging, it’s critical for Australian brands to make the brand positions clear to employees and authentic to the organisation’s culture.

It is becoming of increased importance for brands to stand for something, authentically and with real relevance. While sometimes purpose can come at the cost of exclusion, Australian brands who successfully activate a purpose-led brand will usher in the next era of engagement and competitiveness.

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