Don’t let purposewash kill purpose.
The world’s not in a happy place.
There’s an urgent societal and environmental need for brands to have a positive impact. And consumers, employees and investors are demanding it. So there’s a business need too. But while brands are waking up to purpose, agencies are struggling. Too many are just doing what they do best. Endlines. Moodfilms. Manifestos. Purposewash. And this discrediting brands’ very real attempt to create positive social and environmental impact. At the very time the world needs it most. So. Enough with the Purposewash.
of consumers choose companies whose purpose reflects their own values
of consumers choose brands that treat employees well
of consumers choose brands with ethical values and authenticity
Source: Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research
Purpose done properly.
At GOOD we have a simple formula for helping brands find and express an authentic, meaningful and value-creating social purpose. We call this ‘purpose done properly’ and it’s ridiculously simple.
We believe a brand’s social purpose has to be part of their story. Not a project, a campaign or a content series. It has to complement commercial purpose and be core to the brand narrative. Otherwise it won’t stick to the brand.
Social purpose has to deliver measurable impact on a problem. You can’t just say you’re for or against a thing. You have to know what the problem you’re solving is, and say how you’re doing it, with time, money, products, services, practices, voice. Otherwise it’s too easy to challenge. It’ll damage your reputation.
Most importantly, your social purpose needs to create capital. For your business, staff, customers. If it doesn’t positively affect your bottom line – short term or long term – it’ll be too easy for investors to dismiss. It’ll be too easy to cut.
You need to find a problem that matters to people – staff, customers, stakeholders. You can’t just find an issue that’s trending. Or pick one your CEO cares about. It has to matter. Or it won’t even be noticed.
But everyone can be better.
The world’s on a journey towards social purpose. That’s happening, and there’s no going back. What we do now might look ridiculous in five years. But we have to keep trying, keep improving. Not just calling out Purposewash, but doing purpose better.
If that’s something you’d like to talk about, we’d like to talk about it too.