The Idea: Brands (and leaders) are increasingly judged by their reputations, character and their purpose. The Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that 60 percent of Millennials are belief-driven buyers, as are 53 percent of Gen Z and 51 percent of Gen X. Consider this, 57 percent of consumers now buy or boycott a brand based on its position on social or political issues. This year’s New General Market Purpose Driven Summit challenged a high growth group of brands and retailers to protect their brand story, connecting with today’s consumer as people first and earning a heart connection.
Many purpose-driven brands are growing 10 times faster than larger established brands and purpose driven companies return six times more to shareholders than explicitly profit-driven organizations. If you want to learn about a culture, listen to the stories. If you want to change the culture, change the stories. Here are some stories shared at the summit:
Sundial Brands Founder & CEO Rich Dennis founded the company with an evangelistic vision and the brand came along for the ride. Dennis believes brand soul is birthed from conviction and community love. Sundial Brands has recently initiated a $100 million New Voices Fund that invests in female entrepreneurs of color. An amazing example of “purpose in action.”
Unilever’s Mike Clementi, VP HR N. America & Global Customer Development, spoke of the paradox of thriving as a leader in a world of uncertainty and ambiguity. Unilever takes pride in helping their employees discover their “individual purposes” – and how it links to Unilever’s broader purpose. This linkage allows all parties to thrive.
IRI’s Larry Levin, EVP Consumer & Shopper Marketing & Thought Leadership, shared that brands must understand they are now speaking to five distinct generations: Silent, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Levin shared that nearly 50 percent of those ages 18-21 influence their household grocery shopping & 70 percent of Gen Z make purchases based on their values. Levin shared, “this new generation doesn’t see diversity unless it’s gone.”
Brandless’ Rachael Vegas, Chief Merchant, stated that customers shouldn’t have to pay more for quality. Brandless is a digital company that offers an amazing group of food, household, health and beauty products for only $3. Launched in 2017 with 300 items that include “Just What Matters” – simple ingredients that are Non-GMO and often organic, vegan, and cruelty free – Brandless is driven by a one-for-one social mission. Through a partnership with Feeding America, for every order placed, they offer a meal for people in need.
L2’s VP of Intelligence Evan Neufeld spoke about “The Changing Rules of Building Brand Equity.” Neufeld shared that personalization is an ongoing challenge, as 83 percent of marketing content creators call it their top obstacle, and more than half of all brands are laggards in data capture functionality and target marketing. Purpose must be conveyed through a content rich digital experience.
Coty’s Shannon Curtin, Senior Vice President, reminded us that The Empire State Building was built in 410 days. So WHY is innovation so slow? Curtin highlighted Coty’s commitment to social listening, storytelling with purpose, content optimization, & selling. She reminded the attendees that purpose gets you up in the morning, performance is why you get paid.
The best brands ARE flesh and blood and their purpose is a catalyst for relationship transformation. Both values and “value” are necessity for healthy brand reputation.
How are you showing up?