Consumers are more conscientious than ever — researching brands as much as the products they sell before buying. A brand’s values and actions can encourage or discourage consumers from purchasing a product or service, with 82% saying it’s important for a brand’s values to align with their own.
A shared purpose creates trust between the brand and the buyer. It can be a deciding factor when customers make a buying decision. Content provides a conduit for establishing shared values, but your team’s creation must be authentic and resonate with your audience.
Purpose-driven marketing requires a strategic approach to engage your business with a purpose and generate content that conveys that purpose to your target audience. Cultivating a purpose is rewarding for your brand and the world at large. Let’s dive deeper into using this approach in your marketing and the five steps to creating an effective strategy.
- Consumers prefer brands with values and beliefs that align with their own but don’t always know if businesses are ethical.
- Purpose-driven marketing establishes trust and connections with your audience by demonstrating shared values and causes.
- Your brand’s big-picture “why” provides a foundation for creating a purpose-driven content plan.
- The overlap between your brand’s and audience’s values provides the common ground for purpose-driven content.
- Companies that incorporate purpose into their business models and content often successfully convey the messages their audiences want to hear.
Table of Contents:
Purpose-driven content marketing allows brands to connect with target audiences based on shared interests, specifically a cause or belief. It’s a way to develop synergy between your business and a buyer.
Everyone wants to feel as though they are part of something. Much of the time, that longing reflects in causes or beliefs.
You can leverage this consumer desire to create connections with prospects and customers while providing a service or benefit beyond the products or services you sell. It’s one more way to be audience-first in your content.
It also makes it clear that your organization supports its belief system, something that’s becoming more important in buying decisions. Research suggests that 94% of consumers support brands with their dollars when those businesses demonstrate that they care about and act upon environmental, social, and governance issues.
However, 72% of those surveyed said they don’t always know if a company’s actions are ethical, and another 62% look for evidence that supports a brand’s belief statements. Implementing a purpose-driven marketing strategy is one way to provide that proof, as you can use it to discuss important issues as well as highlight the actions your brand takes in the name of a cause or belief.
Is it right for your organization and audience? Studies like these support the idea. Now, all you need is a plan.
To craft any strategy, you need a blueprint to guide your content plan. Here’s how to build one to support purpose-driven content in 5 steps.
Do you really know the “why” of your brand? You’ve likely defined it in a value proposition, mission statement, or another foundational document.
While these elements are a good start, you need to dig deeper before you can create a purpose-driven marketing strategy. Why do you do what you do (beyond profitability)?
Uncovering Your Brand’s Purpose
If you aren’t sure of the answer to the deeper why question, take some time to do a little brand soul-searching. Ask yourself and others in your organization questions such as:
- What’s your brand’s role in the bigger picture?
- What values are essential to your company?
- What current actions does your business engage in that points to a larger why?
For example, insurance companies aim to provide policies that help customers safeguard valuables and limit liability. For many, their stated purpose is to “protect what matters.”
It’s a statement that rings true for buyers and a belief that imbues trust. However, we recommend that you look for values and beliefs that extend beyond the common purpose statements that might ring inauthentic to your audience.
State Farm’s purpose statement is “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” The brand draws on the desire for community and the idea that neighbors help neighbors. The company’s content supports the idea, with commercials showing images of friendly and comforting agents onsite to help after a catastrophe.
Identifying your brand’s purpose is the first step to purpose-driven marketing.
Your brand’s purpose is only part of the story. You also need to know what matters to your audience.
What causes and beliefs are they concerned with? Ideally, your brand’s purpose connects in some way to what matters to your customers.
Through audience marketing and targeting, you can discover their motivations, viewpoints, and mindsets. While uncovering what makes them tick, you can also discern causes they consider vital.
However, that connection might be indirect. For instance, if your company uses raw materials in product manufacturing and sustainability matters to your customers, highlight any practices that support this and perhaps look for ways to incorporate more sustainability practices into your business model.
After crafting your “why” and identifying what matters to your audience, it’s time to align with causes. The cause may be donating to a charity, supporting a movement, or partnering with an organization to volunteer.
If you need a little inspiration, have a look at a few examples of businesses with successful purpose-driven marketing strategies.
Patagonia: “We’re in Business To Save Our Home Planet”
Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company that epitomizes a purpose-driven brand. Since its start 50 years ago, the company has been on a mission to be an environmentally responsible business.
The company established a 1% Earth tax, using the money to support environmental causes. It also engages in environmentally friendly manufacturing practices.
However, in 2022, the company upped the ante, selling its voting shares to an irrevocable trust to protect its core values. 100% of its nonvoting shares were sold to a nonprofit dedicated to protecting nature and the environment. The company also provides its audience with relevant stories and opportunities to get involved.
Ben and Jerry’s: “We Use Ice Cream To Change the World”
Though the company sells ice cream, the brand makes its mission one of environmental and social responsibility. Like Patagonia, the company actively participates in causes it cares about and folds these issues into its core values.
Source: Ben and Jerry’s
Ben and Jerry’s uses purpose-driven marketing to showcase its involvement in human rights, economic and social justice, and environmental restoration, regeneration, and protection issues. Though the causes the company supports aren’t necessarily all directly related to its product, the brand nonetheless uses its platform to engage in the more significant causes that are important to the company and its audience.
Dove: “The Home of Real Beauty”
Dove has been taking on the standard of beauty for years with purpose-driven marketing. The company’s goal was to highlight society’s distorted sense of beauty and help women with self-esteem issues.
The company’s home page doesn’t feature its products. Instead, it reveals the social justice issues the brand is taking on, including:
- Hair discrimination
- Body size discrimination
- Online safety for kids
- Appearance hate
The brand aims to “redefine, realign, and make beautiful.”
The Body Shop: “We Exist To Fight for a Fairer, More Beautiful World”
The Body Shop’s founder incorporated principles of fairness and sustainability into the brand’s business model. The company’s core values include the idea that businesses can be a positive force, everyone is beautiful, and women and girls worldwide deserve equality and dignity.
The company joined three other brands to form a “beauty group” of companies committed to being a force for good and redefining the beauty industry. The group is actively engaged in fighting for causes they believe in, including climate change and animal testing prevention.
Now that you have all the pieces, it’s time to develop meaningful content. In purpose-driven marketing, your message should support your core beliefs, but your content should also demonstrate that your company acts on those values.
Your content can take many paths, depending on the causes you support. Here are a few ideas to stimulate your creativity:
- Inspire your audience with thought leadership content explaining why your brand supports a cause or partners with a nonprofit.
- Show a human face by creating videos that feature your employees volunteering or talking about a cause.
- Craft social media campaigns that highlight your message and ask fans to contribute user-generated content to share their own stories.
When crafting this content, your company’s products or services take a back seat to these larger issues and the connections you can forge with your audience over shared values.
Make sure your strategy includes topics that appeal to various audience segments. You can use your Divvy calendar to plan and schedule distribution to ensure you reach the right people at the right time and in the right place.
Once your purpose-driven marketing campaign is live, it’s time to track how well it performs. Viewing content analytics allows you to derive insights into an audience’s reaction. Look for:
- Pageviews on web pages that talk about the cause, including “About Us” pages or blogs
- Referral traffic from social media campaigns
- Positive brand mentions on social media profiles
- Customer retention rates
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) ratings
- Conversions tied to cause-centric content
Divvy’s analytics simplifies the evaluation process, aggregating data from across channels to quickly give you a clear picture of how your purpose-driven content performs.
Being consistently purposeful with your content builds trust and loyalty. Once you have a customer’s trust, they are more likely to buy from you and stay loyal.
To remain aligned with your cause and true to your content plan, you’ll need the right tools. Divvy’s platform simplifies content operations, eliminating the chaos and allowing you to focus on what matters.
Like all content marketing endeavors, purpose-driven marketing is complex. We’re here to help. Request a demo today to see how it works.
What Is an Example of a Purpose-Driven Marketing Strategy?
Patagonia sets a good purpose-driven marketing strategy example. Its quest to be an environmentally responsible company drives its business model and is built into its stated purpose to save the world. Its content marketing strategy supports these values through the content in its stories, films, activism page, take action page, and product descriptions.
What Are Purpose-Driven Companies?
Purpose-driven companies operate under a business model that supports a set of values, causes, or beliefs. These brands engage in actions that benefit society and the environment, including the employees who work for them. Purpose-driven companies often fight to make a positive impact at local, national, and global scales.
Why Do Purpose-Driven Companies Do Better?
Purpose-driven companies do better because most consumers want to purchase products from brands with values that align with their own. Businesses with an authentic and action-oriented mission attract consumers who prefer to support companies that stand up for social and environmental causes.
How Do You Create a Purpose-Driven Marketing Strategy?
There are five steps to creating a purpose-driven marketing strategy. 1) Define your company’s purpose and your big “why.” 2) Determine what values and causes matter to your audience. 3) Align your brand with issues that make sense for your business. 4) Craft content around those values and causes and demonstrate supporting actions. 5) Measure content performance and pivot as needed.
What Are the Benefits of Purpose-Driven Marketing?
The primary benefit of purpose-driven marketing is that it promotes trust in your brand. When your messaging and actions support the causes and values consumers share, they see that your brand cares about more than its bottom line.