Trust is a business fundamental. Without it, your business has no business at all. You cannot sell your products or services to people who don’t trust you. They simply won’t make the purchase. When it comes to building trust, purpose-driven brands tend to be trusted more than traditional sales-driven brands. They naturally build a level of trust simply through their business goals, and the way they seek to achieve them.
Inherent and organic trust nurtured simply through your customers aligning with your business goals sounds like a great outcome. There’s a good reason why it works. Customers don’t just want to spend their money with any business. People are becoming far more conscious of a brand’s reputation before they decide to spend with them. Furthermore, it’s not just the brand’s reputation that matters, but also the reasons why they are selling the products that they are.
It used to be the case that products would sell themselves based on their merits. Functionality, affordability, etc. Those factors still exist, but now included in the list would be the brand’s impact on the world and the reasoning why they exist. Getting this right not only builds trust when consumers align themselves with your standpoint but also has a far greater opportunity to turn customers into brand advocates.
The Future of Good Report found that a brand having a purpose wasn’t just an added bonus in the current day. Instead, 82% of consumers polled said that they wanted to purchase from brands that have similar values to them. Many of those same consumers would swap from one brand to another if there was a misalignment.
Take the global powerhouse Unilever, they are an umbrella corporation that includes a variety of brands. Some of them are purpose-driven, and others are not. When surveyed it was found that their so-called “Sustainable Living Brands” were growing 69% faster when compared to brands without a defined purpose. That growth might be as simple as finding more customers aligned to your brand, or it could be an increase in average order value.
So purpose-driven brands see a benefit in both reputation and growth. It makes sense that more and more brands will jump on the bandwagon. It is, however, incredibly important that the purpose is legitimate, and acted upon. Simply stating that you have a purpose, generally ignoring that fact, and simply selling a product without working towards the purpose-driven goal will have the exact opposite effect desired. It will breed mistrust.
Purpose-driven brands are certainly becoming more and more prevalent across industries and sectors, but are they now the norm? Will we reach a period of time where every brand will have a purpose that drives its holistic goals?
It’s unlikely that we’ll see a world where every single brand has to have a purpose but the behaviors exhibited by consumers are certainly shifting in a direction where it is becoming far more expected. This has been driven by the fact that consumers are far more in touch with brands, through social media they can even go as far as directly contacting them on a public forum or holding conversations with them through text.
Social media is an opportunity to share what we care about. This is often a cause that we believe in, and what might have been shared privately with friends and family is now shared publicly for all to see. In order to maintain our social currency among our network, we need to display our values outwardly. This includes interacting with and purchasing from companies that share and align with our values.
Building a purpose driven brand is a lengthy process, in order for it to be legitimate it needs to be grown naturally without being forced. There are, however, a few simple steps that can guide brands on the right way to becoming purpose-driven. It’s a process to follow with best practices, the same as you would follow customer service best practices.
Picking something at random looks exactly that. Random. Your purpose needs to match your current brand, your product or service, and align with your values. There’s little point in choosing anything else because it will just look insincere. Once the connection has been selected, it needs to be clearly reflected throughout all of your brands messaging. That means in every ad, in every piece of content, in every page of your website. It needs to be all encompassing. That should be relatively natural and straight forward if the purpose is relevant to your brand.
Simply picking a purpose is only the first step. The next part of the process is to explain what purpose your brand is driving towards and why you have chosen it. This is the time to be completely transparent and genuine with your followers and consumers. They need to be educated on why you have chosen that purpose, but potentially they also need to be educated on what that purpose even is. In theory, if they follow your values and you’ve picked a purpose that aligns with it then they will have heard about it, but will likely want to learn more. They’ll especially want to know how working with you will help that purpose.
As you begin to work towards the purpose within your brand, you need to be unflinchingly transparent about your work. Have you met goals for the purpose? What have you actually done? Be honest, be humble and share what happens next. By offering clear reports and roadmaps into the future your customers will feel that they’re a genuine part of the process. They’ll feel that they are also working towards the goal. That feels good, and they’ll want to be aligned with your brand to see the purpose through.
Purpose driven brands certainly aren’t a passing fad. The very opposite, they’re here to create meaningful change, and they’re here to stay. Embracing the social responsibility can have a monumentally positive impact for both a brand’s reputation and growth.